Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has reportedly pulled dissenter Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) from the important Commerce Committee, which could be interpreted as retaliation for challenging his leadership bid.
Further lending credibility to the retaliation theory, McConnell also pulled Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) from the Commerce Committee. Lee supported Scott’s bid to oust McConnell at the time.
“People told me not to run for Republican Leader against Mitch McConnell. They said I wouldn’t win. I knew it was going to be hard. But we’ve got to start somewhere,” Scott said in an ad released in early January.
“We are on the road to woke socialism and Republicans are just a speed bump,” he added. “We can’t keep doing the same old thing. It’s time for Republicans to be bold, speak the truth, and stop caving in. Help us change our party. Join us at RescueAmerica.com.”
McConnell said that he did not take the bid to ouster him personally, but “The latest move sends a clear message to conservatives that challenging McConnell’s leadership carries a cost,” according to The Hill,
“I’m not in any way offended by having an opponent or having a few votes in opposition,” McConnell said after being reelected. “I’m pretty proud of 37 to 10.”
Rick Scott confirmed in an interview that he believes the committee removal might be retaliation.
“McConnell got to pick. He kicked me off; he kicked Lee off,” said Scott.
“I probably ran the biggest company almost any senator in the history [of the] country has ever run. I was governor of the third-biggest economy in the United States, Florida. I’ve got a business background,” Scott added.
One source close to Scott said the senator is “furious” after learning about his ouster from the committee in a text message.
“Other conservatives agree the leadership fight was a major factor in the decision to remove Scott and Lee from Commerce,” noted The Hill. “McConnell insisted in November that he didn’t have any hard feelings left over after Scott challenged him in an acrimonious race, which McConnell eventually won by a vote of 37 to 10.”