Republican civil war breaks out on Capitol Hill over Senate leader

Donald Trump slammed by Republican Adam Kinzinger

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The Republicans appear to be in the throes of a civil war on Capitol Hill as an ally of Donald Trump – Florida Senator Rick Scott – launched a failed bid to replace Mitch McConnell as Senate leader for the party. The move comes amid a furious debate in the GOP (Republicans) over who was to blame for the failure to make massive gains from the Democrats in the Midterm elections. The expected red wave turned into less than a trickle as the Republicans failed to win control of the Senate and will barely get a majority in the House of Representatives.

Senator Rick Scott, a MAGA (Make America Great Again) Republican who has been the warm-up act at Trump rallies, put in a bid to replace McConnell who is seen as part of the old establishment Republicans.

While moderate so-called “establishment” Republicans have tried to blame Trump himself and MAGA candidates for the failures to make gains in the Senate and House of Representatives, there has also been a backlash against them for the moderate national campaign they organised.

In his pitch, Senator Scott promised to start afresh.

He told colleagues: “If you simply want to stick with the status quo, don’t vote for me.”

Restive conservatives in the chamber have lashed out at McConnell’s handling of the election, as well as his iron grip over the Senate Republican caucus.

A bid to delay the minority leader vote after the Georgia senate run-off in December by Senator Ted Cruz failed to allow McConnell to be re-elected winning a majority with 37 out of 49 votes in a secret ballot. 

Trump and McConnell have had a difficult relationship since the 2020 Presidential election and the Senate.

The former US President publicly blamed the GOP Senate leader for the failures in last week’s election, commenting after the Democrats held on to Arizona, a state which was supposed to turn Republican red.

Mr Trump said: “It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault. Spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing Blake Masters and others was a big mistake,” Trump wrote, referring to pouring money into Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) race against Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka.

“He blew the Midterms, and everyone despises him and his otherwise lovely wife, Coco Chow!”

The failed coup by Trump MAGA supporters in the Senate came after Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy avoided an attempt to unseat him.

While McCarthy picked up 188 of the 217 votes of currently elected Republican House representatives in his bid to replace Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker he has not guaranteed the position.

If he fails to win a simple majority in the House then he will not be elected as Speaker with many MAGA representatives questioning whether they will support him when Congress resumes in January.

McConnell is set to become the longest-serving Senate party leader in the history of the institution.

Ahead of the vote, he told reporters: “We may or may not be voting tomorrow, but I think the outcome is pretty clear.

“I want to repeat again: I have the votes; I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later.”

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Despite surviving an attempt to replace him, prominent supporters of Mr Trump came out to attack Mr McConnell suggesting that the relationship is going to get more difficult over the next two years.

Brigitte Gabriel, founder and chairman of Act for America, Tweeted: “Ditch Mitch McConnell.”

Former assistant to Mr Trump Sebastian Gorka said: “Mitch McConnell is the problem. Not President Trump.”

Former Georgia state representative Vernon Jones said: “Mitch McConnell is 80. It’s time for new, younger, and more effective leadership.”

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