Faced with questions about his ability to lead after the midterm election debacle, a defiant Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell deflected blame from his own culpability in the Democrats retaining control of the upper chamber and instead blamed it on public dissatisfaction with MAGA candidates.
The embattled McConnell spoke to reporters on Tuesday, defending his dismal performance and the refusal to adequately fund candidates who were endorsed by former and perhaps future President Donald J. Trump such as Blake Masters in Arizona, instead spending money to support RINO Lisa Murkowski in Alaska against her America first opponent, also a Republican.
“One of the criticisms from Senator Scott and others who agree with him is that your decision not to have an agenda to run on opened up Republican candidates to attacks that they didn’t really stand for anything,” asked a reporter. “What is your response to the criticism that you are partially responsible?“
“Every one of our candidates knew what they were for, expressed it quite clearly. It’s pretty obvious and all of you have been writing about it,” the Kentucky Republican replied. “What happened? We underperformed among independents and moderates because their impression of many of the people in our party in leadership roles is that they’re engulfed in chaos, negativity, excessive attacks, and it frightened independent and moderate Republican voters.”
“And we saw that, which is why you all recall, I never predicted a red wave,” he continued. “We never saw that in any of our polling in the states that we were counting on to win. There was no wave. We had national issue set that was favorable, but as a result of our own — the perception many of them had that we were not dealing with issues in a responsible way and that we were spending too much time on negativity and attacks and chaos, they were frightened, and so they pulled back.”
“We — in two states, for example — excuse me, in two states, for example, got just crushed by independent voters, Arizona and New Hampshire. So, we learned some lessons about this and I think the lesson is pretty clear. Senate races are different. Candidate quality, recall, I said in August, is important. In most of our states we met that test, in a few of them we did not,” he said.
McConnell’s role in the most fateful off-year elections in the nation’s history and the failure to reign in the Democrat vandals who are determined to remake America to their liking had other GOP lawmakers calling for a reevaluation of the party’s direction.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio – who easily won reelection – was one of the Republicans who called for the postponement of the Senate leadership election.
“The Senate GOP leadership vote next week should be postponed,” Rubio wrote on Twitter.
“First we need to make sure that those who want to lead us are genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities & values of the working Americans (of every background) who gave us big wins in states like #Florida,” he tweeted on Friday.
The Senate GOP leadership vote next week should be postponed
First we need to make sure that those who want to lead us are genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities & values of the working Americans (of every background) who gave us big wins in states like #Florida
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 11, 2022
Texas Senator Ted Cruz also seemed to suggest that it’s time to move on from McConnell.
“Just like with a football coach, where you would fire a football coach if the team loses when they should’ve won — we should’ve won,” he said on his podcast, adding that he is “so pissed off, I cannot even see straight.”
However, McConnell was confident that he will retain his leadership, telling reporters that “I have the votes. I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later.”
McConnell: "I have the votes. I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later." pic.twitter.com/wuuqp5povs
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 15, 2022
Trump, who has been one of McConnell’s fiercest critics pointed the finger of blame directly at the 80-year-old career politician for not being able to capitalize on a favorable political environment to retake the Senate.
“It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault. Spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing Blake Masters and others was a big mistake. Giving 4 Trillion Dollars to the Radical Left for the Green New Deal, not Infrastructure, was an even bigger mistake. He blew the Midterms, and everyone despises him and his otherwise lovely wife, Coco Chow!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
(Image: Screengrab/Truth Social)
Now that Trump has officially declared his third run for the White House, look for the two to lock horns over the future direction of the party as the GOP is now on the clock for 2024.
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