Mitch McConnell has led the Senate Republicans for nearly 20 years, but his time in power may be running out.
Speaking exclusively to The Daily Caller, several influential Senate Republicans voiced their doubts that Senate Minority Leader McConnell, R-Ky., was the best person to steer the party’s goals in the wake of the recent border bill fiasco.
“Mitch McConnell, in effect, gave the largest in-kind campaign contribution to the Democrats’ Senate campaign committee in history,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told The Daily Caller.
“Every single Democrat candidate in the country running for Senate, running for House will use the identical talking points — they will all say: We wanted to secure the border. We tried to secure the border, but the Republicans wouldn’t let us,” Cruz said. “Now, that is a wild-eyed lie. It is completely false. This bill would have made the border crisis worse.”
Despite McConnell’s familiarity with Senate maneuvers and procedures, he has long been outside the Republican base on issues that are important to them—illegal immigration and border security foremost among them.
“I think this is our opportunity to take him out, and we’re sort of working to figure out if that’s possible,” according to one Republican senator, granted anonymity by The Daily Caller.
“As long as I’ve been serving in the Senate, there’s never been an issue where the American public is so overwhelmingly in support of our position, which is to secure the border.
“So how can you take — as leader — how do you take an issue where the American people support us and lead us into a box, where now, when a bill is produced, it is worse than doing nothing,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said. “When that’s rejected, we get blamed. I mean, you got to work overtime to screw that up.”
Every senator who spoke with The Daily Caller said that McConnell, not Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, whom McConnell assigned to lead the negotiations, was the one who struck the deal with the Democrats.
Since Lankford is not seeking reelection, he was considered the best option in the event that the bill failed, which it did.
“I’ve even heard privately, Democratic colleagues tell me, ‘Your leadership was desperate to make a deal, that it made us less willing to negotiate,’” JD Vance, R-Ohio, told The Daily Caller. “So this is an open secret that these guys were not driving a hard bargain, and you see the results in the border package that came out. And now we’re seeing the second step of the process, which is kill the border package. Jam through the Ukraine package. It doesn’t make any sense.”
The proposed $118 border security bill, which included $60 billion in additional funding for Ukraine, went down by a 49-50 margin.
When asked at a press conference Tuesday if it was time for McConnell to go, Cruz responded, “I think it is.”
McConnell is blaming Republican senators for the development and subsequent failure of the pro-migration bill that he secretly drafted with Democrat leaders.
“The reason we’ve been talking about the border is because they [GOP Senators] wanted to,” he told Politico, adding, “The reason we ended up where we are is the members decided, since it was never going to become law, they didn’t want to deal with it … I don’t know who is at fault here, in terms of trying to cast public blame.”
The top Democrat on the negotiation panel, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), told NBC News that McConnell was central to the negotiations: “He didn’t just bless the deal. He wrote the deal … [His team] were in the room every single day.”
The bill faced significant opposition from GOP voters and senators like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) due to its pro-migration stance and what they perceived as deceptive marketing. As a result, the bill quickly collapsed upon its release.
“The border deal is even worse than we thought. No one who cares about our border security should support it. It is a betrayal of the American people,” Lee wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter