Conservative leaders call on McConnell to resign over legislative gridlock

Five prominent conservative activist leaders on Wednesday called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (R-Ky.) and the rest of his leadership team to resign, citing the Senate’s failure to pass much of President Trump’s agenda.

The conservative leaders, who are longtime critics of McConnell and the GOP establishment in Washington, slammed the Senate’s failure to pass an ObamaCare repeal bill.

“2017 has been a disappointing year for the millions of Americans who fully expected, and had every right to expect real change in Washington. Republicans were given full control of the federal government. They — you — have done nothing,” they wrote in a letter dated Wednesday to McConnell and his leadership team.


They pointed to what they called broken promises to stop the flow of illegal immigration, to reduce the size of government, to reduce deficit spending and to repeal ObamaCare.

They also pinged McConnell for the Senate’s schedule of convening in the afternoon on Mondays and often recessing on Thursdays.

Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, David Bozell, president of ForAmerica and Richard Viguerie, a political direct mail pioneer, signed the letter.

“It is time for you and your leadership team to step aside, for new leadership that is committed to the promise made to the American people. America is too good for you to lead it,” they wrote.

It’s not the first time these leaders have called on McConnell to step aside, but it adds pressure on the GOP leader to deliver on tax reform or another major Trump priority before next year’s GOP primaries.

Former White House strategist Stephen Bannon has announced plans to back conservative challenges to settled Republican incumbents such as Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenators target 'gag clauses' that hide potential savings on prescriptions USPTO needs to be forced to do its job and reject bad patents Senate Dems propose tax cut rollback to pay for infrastructure MORE (R-Wyo.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchNew kid on the tech block Senate GOP: Legislation to protect Mueller not needed Week ahead: Lawmakers scramble to avoid another shutdown MORE (R-Utah) next year because of the Senate’s lack of progress in passing Trump’s agenda.

The conservative leaders also took aim at the leaders’ efforts to defeat Tea Party and conservative challengers in Senate Republican primaries. The Senate Leadership Fund, a political fundraising group linked with McConnell, spent more than $10 million in an unsuccessful bid to defeat Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate Republican Primary.

“Those substantive failures come on top of your vicious, continuous, merciless attacks on grassroots Republicans, but most especially conservatives. Why do you hate the very people who are the biggest bloc of voters supporting every single member of the GOP Senate Caucus?” they wrote.

They accused McConnell and his allies of “blacklisting” vendors who work for conservative or Tea Party insurgents who challenge candidates backed by the Washington establishment.

They also slammed him for not putting more resources behind Darryl Glenn, who narrowly lost to Democratic Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand Bennet2020 Dems unify around assault weapons ban, putting pressure on colleagues McConnell, Schumer tap colleagues to explore budget reform Democrats march toward single-payer health care MORE (D-Colo.) in the 2016 Colorado Senate race, while strongly backing the losing effort of former Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) in the Nevada Senate battle. 

“In 2016, there were only two states in which the GOP had a chance to pick up Senate seats — Colorado and Nevada. In Nevada you led $25 million worth of spending on behalf of your chosen candidate, but you refused to spend any money on behalf of Darryl Glenn in Colorado simply because he was conservative,” the conservative activists wrote.