A group of Republican senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blasted Sen. Ted Cruz in a members-only meeting on Thursday, according to
a report in the New York Times.
Here’s what happened, according to the report: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) furiously waved a printout from the Senate Conservatives Fund’s website that blasted Ayotte and 24 other Senate Republicans for voting for cloture last week on a bill to keep the government funded.
The Senate Conservative Fund had followed the lead of Cruz, who has spearheaded the effort to defund the Affordable Care Act through the continuing resolution. Because those 25 Republican senators voted for cloture, they counted it as a “vote for Obamacare,” since it allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring up an amendment stripping language from the bill that defunded Obamacare.
In the meeting, Ayotte reportedly asked Cruz to disavow the group’s printout. He did not. Ayotte also asked him to provide a strategy going forward. He did not.
“It just started a lynch mob,” senator who was present told the Times.
This goes back to Republican frustrations with Cruz, which have been brewing since mid-September. Republican senators and aides have been dismayed at the lack of a strategy and endgame from Cruz.
And now that his strategy appears to have failed, the frustrations have boiled over. A GOP aide not connected to the meeting explained it this way: If his strategy had worked, Cruz would take the credit. Now that it isn’t, he’s not going to take the blame.
He’s going to pin that on Republican “defeatists,” as he reportedly told the GOP senators in the meeting.
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