Conservative groups demand McConnell step down, call him a 'failure'

Mitch mcconnellAaron P. Bernstein/Getty ImagesSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

A collection of conservative political groups released a letter Wednesday calling for Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to step down, saying the leader has been a “failure” during the Trump presidency.

“It’s time for new leadership. Mitch McConnell has been a failure in the Senate and has cost Republicans almost a year of victories,” said Adam Brandon, president of the group FreedomWorks. “He has demonstrated that he either does not understand the frustration coming from conservatives and the urgency of passing key legislation — or he does not care.”

The letter, signed by Brandon and the leaders of conservative groups including the Senate Conservatives Fund and Tea Party Patriots, took particular umbrage with the Senate’s failure to pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“We are now in October of 2017,” the letter said. “The Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. The GOP controls it all, thanks to that commitment. President Trump and the House of Representatives have done their part. You sank it all.”

A senior Republican aide dismissed the calls from conservative groups and noted that this is not the first time these groups have called for McConnell’s head.

“These groups are paid to attack Republicans, and they say the same thing year after year,” the aide said.

The right flank of the party has long expressed misgivings with McConnell’s leadership.

Rep. Mark Walker, the head of the conservative-leaning Republican Study Group in the House, said the party would be “better off” without McConnell leading the Senate.

President Donald Trump has, for his part, expressed dissatisfaction with McConnell. He suggested in August that if the Senate does not pass tax reform or other major legislative priorities, McConnell should think about stepping aside.

Trump has also kept up a long-running vendetta against the Senate’s legislative filibuster, repeatedly calling for it to be repealed. His focus on the issue has irked McConnell, who is traditionally a stickler on Senate rules.

Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and head of the far-right site Breitbart, has gone after McConnell. He is in the process of setting up a series of primary challenges for GOP lawmakers as part of a broader war with the party’s establishment.

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