Bannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement'

Bannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement'
© Greg Nash

Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News and former White House chief strategist, said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) is "picking up his game" amid threats to his power posed by the "insurgency movement" led by President Trump.

In an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis that aired Sunday, Bannon blasted McConnell for what he described as lackluster support for Trump's agenda, but noted that the majority leader has worked more aggressively in recent weeks to confirm judicial nominees, pass a budget and push forward a tax-reform plan.

"Now that he's afraid, now that he sees that the grass-roots movement — whether it's in Alabama or Arizona or Tennessee or Mississippi — is going to replace his cronies like [Sens.] Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE [R-Ariz.] and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? Blackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' MORE [R-Tenn.], now he's scared, and now he's trying to move more federal judges through the system and really trying to cleave to President Trump's plan," Bannon said.


Bannon, who left his White House post in August, has railed against McConnell — and the GOP establishment more broadly — vowing to oust him as majority leader and install lawmakers more closely aligned with Trump's brand of conservatism.

He has worked in recent months to recruit candidates to challenge GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections, including Republican Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator who is vying for the Senate seat currently held by Flake.

Flake has been among Trump's most vocal critics in the GOP, and announced last month that he would not seek reelection, saying that he could not in good conscience defend or support the president. 

Bannon is also backing GOP candidate Roy Moore in Alabama's special Senate election. Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe Trump Presidency: Year One Dems search for winning playbook Stephen Bannon steps down from Breitbart MORE (R-Ala.) in a runoff election in September. Moore has faced allegations of sexual misconduct in recent days, including one accusation that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32.