McConnell Takes Action Against Senator Who Challenged Him For Leadership


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken action against Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott by removing him from the finance committee in, what some believe, is retaliation for his support in removing McConnell from his leadership position in the Senate.

He also removed Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who supported Scott’s campaign to be Senate Majority Leader, from the Commerce panel, The Hill reported.

“McConnell got to pick. He kicked me off; he kicked Lee off,”  the Florida Republican said.


He said that he believed the decision was retaliation because, based on his seniority and experience, he did not see another reason.

“I probably ran the biggest company almost any senator in the history of the country has ever run. I was governor of the third-biggest economy in the United States, Florida. I’ve got a business background,” he said.

But Scott and Lee have teamed up to challenge McConnell’s leadership of the GOP conference on fiscal and spending decisions, and Lee gave one of the nominating speeches for Scott’s bid to take over as GOP leader.

Scott said he learned of the decision in a text message.

One personal familiar with the episode described the Florida senator as “furious.”


Other conservatives agree the leadership fight was a major factor in the decision to remove Scott and Lee from Commerce.

The Florida senator challenged the Senate Minority Leader for his job in November, after the midterm elections, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against. I do not believe we can simply continue to say the Democrats are radical, which they are. Republican voters expect and deserve to know our plan to promote and advance conservative values,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the current chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said. “We need to listen to their calls for action and start governing in Washington like we campaign back at home. There is a Republican Party that is alive and well in communities across America. It is time there is one in Washington, D.C., too.”


“Like each of you, I am deeply disappointed by the results of the recent election. Despite what the armchair quarterbacks on TV will tell you, there is no one person responsible for our party’s performance across the country. I know there is no shortage of people who are eager to point fingers and assign blame here in Washington, but I won’t be one of them. It’s unproductive and a massive waste of time. We know that chief among our problems in races across America was a lack of Republican voter turnout. There may be many reasons for that, but after traveling the country to support our candidates I believe voters want a plan. They are begging us to tell them what we will do when we are in charge. Unfortunately, we have continued to elect leadership who refuses to do that and elicits attacks on anyone that does. That is clearly not working and it’s time for bold change. The voters are demanding it,” he said.

“For those who want to get serious about ending reckless government spending and the devastating inflation it has caused, finally take action to protect Social Security and Medicare and preserve the promise of these programs for our children and grandchildren, hold government accountable from the FBI to the IRS, truly combat the extreme danger posed by Communist China and refocus our military on lethal defense instead of woke nonsense, I ask for your support in changing the direction of the Senate and rescuing America from the dangerous path Democrats have set it on. I look forward to having the opportunity to meet with each of you to discuss your priorities and collaborate on how we can achieve this vision,” he said.


But Sen. McConnell said he was confident, after a leadership meeting, that he would be voted leader again.

“I think it’s pretty obvious we may or may not be voting tomorrow,” he said. “But I think the outcome is pretty clear … I have the votes, I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later.”


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