GOP Senate Candidate Won’t Back McConnell For Leader Amid Escalating War With Trump
A leading Republican Senate candidate in Missouri said Tuesday he would not vote for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell if elected, which comes as former President Donald Trump is reportedly looking to field a challenger against McConnell.
Eric Greitens, the former Missouri governor now running for U.S. Senate, put out a statement accusing McConnell of “working against President Trump and the MAGA movement,” and said people are “sick of the weak, woke RINOs.”
The comment comes after the Wall Street Journal reported Trump is trying to field a senator to challenge McConnell for his job despite “little appetite” among Senate Republicans to depose him.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who said in March he wouldn’t support McConnell for leader again, told Forbes this month that Trump “can have his opinion” but declined to air personal grievances about McConnell, expressing a desire to be “as unified as a party as possible.”
Still, winning back Congress on the backs of right-wing candidates may prove to be a double-edged sword for McConnell and his House counterpart Kevin McCarthy, adding loud dissenters to their respective conferences.
Trump-backed House candidate Joe Kent told Forbes on Saturday he won’t support McCarthy as leader, preferring someone like Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
Trump and McConnell have been at odds since the minority leader refused to go along with the ex-president’s efforts to oveturn the 2020 election and, more recently, rebuked him over the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump called McConnell an “unsmiling political hack” in February, and in April he reportedly labeled him a “stone cold loser” at a GOP donor retreat.
27%. That’s the share of likely Missouri GOP primary voters who back Greitens in a survey from the GOP pollster Remington Research Group, compared to 28% who support Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
Greene, who has been one of the most vocal critics of her party’s tactics, told Forbes on Monday McCarthy needs to “fight harder” and “be a Republican in action just like you talk on TV, but wouldn’t say if she’d withhold her vote for McCarthy to be speaker. Other members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus have blasted McCarthy’s perceived restraint in dealing with Democrats.