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Good Riddance To Mitch McConnell: A List Of GOP Senate Chief’s Worst Blunders In Leadership

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced Tuesday he would step down from leadership.

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Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced Wednesday he will step down from his leadership role this fall, citing his age and health.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” the 82-year-old Senate leader said. “So I stand before you today… to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

Federalist CEO Sean Davis reported that Senate insiders see McConnell’s decision as both a concession and a power grab.

“Even a growing number of moderates were angry at the chaos he was sowing in the conference,” one senior Senate GOP aide told Davis. “An open rebellion against McConnell was in the works due to his ‘repeated sabotage of Republican priorities and border inaction.'”

McConnell, another aide said, is just trying to get ahead of “a possible defenestration.”

To conservative voters long frustrated by McConnell’s two decades in leadership, it’s long past time to usher in a new generation to the upper echelons of government. McConnell’s blunders leave a legacy of distrust among Republican voters eager for their elected leaders to fight for substantive change. It’s part of why the Kentucky lawmaker persistently polled as the most unpopular politician in the country.

Here are some of McConnell’s worst moments as Republican Senate leader.

2024 Senate Border Bill

One of McConnell’s latest blunders came in the form of a bipartisan spending bill to codify the Biden administration’s open borders into law. Earlier this month, the Republican Senate chief deputized Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford to put forward a $118 billion spending bill with $60 billion for Ukraine and $20 billion for the border. The legislative package not only gave disproportionate funding to Ukraine, but would have allowed 5,000 crossings per day and asylum for all.

“[McConnell] didn’t just bless the deal. He wrote the deal,” said Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrats’ lead negotiator on the bill. The GOP Senate leader’s team “were in the room every single day.”

[READ: Joe Biden’s Border Bill Is Mitch McConnell’s Blunder]

2022 Midterms

The GOP performance in the 2022 midterms provoked 10 Republicans in the upper chamber to vote to remove McConnell as leader.

McConnell spent the 2022 midterms maneuvering to maintain a Republican minority he could control instead of an effective majority that would have stalled plans to collude on additional Ukraine spending with Democrats. The GOP Senate leader undermined Republican efforts to reclaim the upper chamber in the midterms by redirecting scarce resources from competitive races in key states to keep safer seats such as a contest between two Republicans in Alaska. McConnell’s super PAC notably pulled funding from candidates who refused to pledge their blind loyalty to the Senate leader in Arizona and New Hampshire.

The Kentucky lawmaker complained about “candidate quality” at the start of the fall campaign season to preview losses in what historically should have been a red-wave election year for Republicans.

Senate Endorsements

McConnell’s 2022 midterm performance was the predictable culmination of an aging Senate leader who prioritized loyalists. The longtime lawmaker spent a career backing lackluster candidates more likely to favor McConnell’s establishment caucus in D.C. than the voters who elected them.

In one such contest, McConnell backed Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson against Rand Paul for the open Senate seat in 2010. McConnell also opposed Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse in the 2014 primary for an open seat because Sasse criticized the GOP leader.

In 2009, McConnell endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s Senate campaign before the Republican governor decided to run as an independent and then as a Democrat for governor in 2014.

Arlen Spector

Democrats won a 60-seat majority in the upper chamber in 2009 when Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties over polls suggesting he would lose if he ran as a Republican for re-election. McConnell met privately with Specter but failed to convince the incumbent to remain with the GOP. Former Republican Rep. Pat Toomey went on to win the GOP nomination and carried the Pennsylvania Senate seat for two terms.

Ukraine

With no strategy to end the war, McConnell became President Joe Biden’s greatest ally to bankroll the Kyiv regime with billions beyond the desires of American voters, especially Republicans. If House lawmakers approve the $95 billion foreign spending package the Senate passed following the failure of the amnesty bill, the total taxpayer commitment will reach $170 billion, according to The New York Times.

“For three years, a policy of hesitation, short-sightedness, and self-deterrence led the world to wonder whether the United States still has the resolve to face growing, coordinated threats,” McConnell said when the bill passed earlier this month. “But today, the Senate responded by reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interests.”

McConnell peddled the lie on CBS News last fall that U.S. spending on war in Ukraine is “rebuilding our industrial base.” But just a fraction of what’s been approved flows towards domestic manufacturing. The war in Ukraine might be killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of people and diverting taxpayer funds from more productive uses, but it’s great for Boeing.

Impeachment

McConnell officially voted no on conviction, but he tacitly supported Democrats’ impeachment of President Donald Trump in 2021. In fact, McConnell contemplated convicting the outgoing president over the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot. McConnell’s support for Trump’s conviction was chronicled by former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney in her December book.

“As McConnell and I had conferred throughout the impeachment proceedings in the House, he had been firm in his view that Trump should be impeached,” she wrote. When a report was published suggesting McConnell was open to conviction, Cheney wrote, “McConnell did not correct the story.”

“That was intentional,” Cheney explained. “‘I like where I am,’ he told me as the House impeachment debate got underway.”

McConnell went on to trash former Fox News host Tucker Carlson after the prime-time cable anchor’s bombshell Jan. 6 tapes undermined the far-left narrative of a “deadly insurrection.”

“With regard to the presentation on Fox News,” McConnell said, “I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief of the Capitol Police about what happened on Jan. 6.” McConnell waved around a copy of the memo Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger had sent his department hours earlier calling Carlson’s coverage “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions.”

McConnell Answers Mar-a-Lago Raid By Beefing Up DOJ

McConnell called on lawmakers to beef up federal law enforcement after the Justice Department acted to thwart Trump’s second term with a raid at the former president’s Florida residence. Congress, McConnell said, “ought to be looking for ways to spend more on law enforcement.”

Voting to Confirm Justice Hater Merrick Garland

McConnell also voted to confirm Merrick Garland as attorney general.

Tuberville Blockade

When Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville slowed military promotions over the Pentagon’s unconstitutional facilitation of abortion last year, McConnell attacked him.

“No, I don’t support putting a hold on military nominations,” McConnell said. “I don’t support that. But as to why, you’ll have to ask Sen. Tuberville.”

Bridge to Nowhere

McConnell has been a career-long champion for congressional earmarks and voted to approve the infamous $400 million “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska.

Never-Ending Debt

As a member of Republican Senate leadership for more than 20 years, McConnell has been at the center of every spending fight since the first term of President George W. Bush. In 2003, when McConnell was the GOP majority whip, the national debt was under $7 trillion. Today, the national debt is beyond $34 trillion and counting.

Obamacare

One of McConnell’s earliest challenges as Senate leader came in 2010 when, while McConnell was chair of the GOP Senate conference, congressional Democrats passed the “Affordable Care Act,” known as “Obamacare.” McConnell was Senate majority leader by the time Republicans captured the White House and both houses of Congress following Trump’s 2016 triumph. In 2017, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to repeal Obamacare under McConnell’s tenure.

Failed Oversight of Afghanistan

President Biden’s approval rating never recovered from the humiliating Afghanistan withdrawal in summer 2021. An effective GOP Senate chief might have turned up the heat with oversight into the administration’s failures. Instead, not one principal cabinet official was forced to resign.

McConnell and Wife Spent Decades Getting ‘Rich on China’

McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, have remained embroiled in conflicts of interest while at the upper echelons of the federal government. Chao has served across four presidential administrations as secretary of transportation, secretary for the Department of Labor, and as director of the Peace Corps. Chao and her family are well connected to officials in communist China through her father’s company, Foremost, which operates primarily out of China.

“Foremost and the Chao family have benefitted from loans estimated to be between $350,000 and $1 million from the U.S. government and loans from Chinese banks known by the Trump administration as threats,” reported the Federalist’s Jordan Boyd.

[READ: Trump Is Right. Mitch McConnell And Elaine Chao Spent Decades Getting ‘Rich On China’]


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