Politics

Mitch McConnell Finds Himself in Trump’s Cross Hairs

“McConnell has served in the Senate since 1984, making him the longest serving Senator in Kentucky history.” 

It’s not exactly a secret that President Trump is less than pleased with Congress and its performance under his young administration. Trump swept into office with the promise to shake things up, but the Republican-controlled Congress has thus far proven incapable of moving major legislation.

Obamacare repeal and replace has failed, tax reform looks iffy, and there is still no clear vision regarding deficits, budgets, taxes, and all the rest. Trump had been generally supportive of Congress, but his tune is starting to change and Senate Majority-Leader Mitch McConnell has found himself the target of the President’s fury.

Speaking from his private Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey, President Trump bashed McConnell during a press event. Most tellingly, when asked if Senator McConnell should consider stepping down, Trump responded with “well, I’ll tell you what. If he doesn’t get repeal and replace done and if he doesn’t get taxes done — meaning cuts and reform — and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question.”

Trump also called out Mitch on Twitter several times:

Trump isn’t McConnell’s only critic. Indeed, the Senator is one of the most widely despised politicians in Washington, with Republicans and Democrats souring on him.

Most tellingly, his home-state voters also hold McConnell in low regard with 48% of Kentuckians disapproving of the Senator, while only 41% support him. This actually means that he has the highest disapproval rating of any Senator in Congress.

With 75% support to 21% disapproval, Independent Bernie Sanders remains the most popular Senator.

McConnell has served in the Senate since 1984, making him the longest serving Senator in Kentucky history. However, if Trump forces his resignation or continues to express disapproval of McConnell, that long career could soon come to an end. McConnell will next face reelection in 2020.

Trump Donor Going After Senator Flake

While McConnell isn’t in President Trump’s good graces at the moment, he has generally been supportive of the administration. There’s one Republican Senator who has been actively lambasting the Trump Administration. That’s Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Flake has gone as far as to publish a book,  “Conscience of a Conservative,” in which he blames the GOP for the rise of Donald Trump. During the 2016 Presidential campaign Flake refused to endorse Trump. When the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was released, Flake even called for Trump to withdraw from the race.

Trump has suggested that he might spend as much as $10 million to see Flake defeated during his 2018 primary campaign. Whether or not the President will pony up the bucks remains to be seen, but billionaire hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer has already pledged 300K to defeat Flake. Mercer was among Trump’s biggest early supporters.

Senator Flake is already in hot water, with his approval rating in Arizona standing at only 37%, compared to a disapproval rating of 45%. To be honest, Mercer might not even need to fund Flake’s opponents, one of them might triumph anyways.  Interestingly, Senator John McCain, another Senator who has criticized Trump, is also from Arizona.

Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is an OpsLens Contributor and political consultant. Brinker has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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