Last night two more Republican Senators announced they would vote against their own party’s AHCA “TrumpCare” bill, effectively killing it. That prompted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make an immediate attempt at repealing ObamaCare without a replacement, but today four Republican Senators announced their refusal to participate, killing that idea as well. One longtime Senate insider says you’re not just imagining it: the Senate GOP is in full rebellion mode against McConnell.
Adam Jentleson was the Deputy Chief of Staff for recently retired Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, having spent years working with and against McConnell and his staff. Last night, Jentleson posted an insider’s view of what’s really going down between Senate Republicans and Mitch McConnell: “What we’re witnessing is an unprecedented, full-blown rebellion by Republican senators against their leader, McConnell,” he explained. “McConnell’s political victories have come at a steep price for the institution. He has taken power & influence away from other senators. His fellow Rs did not like losing their individual power, but they were willing to abide it as long as McConnell delivered victories.”
Jentleson continued: “The question has always been, what happen to McConnell when he hits a dry spell – especially one that his scorched-Earth tactics precipitated. We’re seeing indications of that tonight. This sounds like trolling but I’m honestly shocked at how nasty Republicans are being towards him. Accusing your leader of a “significant breach of trust” [an accusation made publicly by GOP Senator Ron Johnson] is about as harsh as it gets in Senate-speak. Senators want to get things done. McConnell’s pitch to his fellow Republicans was always, let’s get power & then we’ll get things done. Their problem now is that the tactics McConnell employed to accrue power undercut their ability to get things done.”
You can read Jentleson’s full explanation, which goes into more detail, in his Twitter thread (link). But his upshot is this: “This is a massive humiliation for McConnell” and “the breadth of the rebellion is fascinating and suggests that this was coordinated.” As failures and frustration pile up, could we soon be seeing the end of Mitch McConnell in the leadership role?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report