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 McConnellKavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Franken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' 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 FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling MORE [R-Ariz.] and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts: report McConnell: We may 'be in the early stages' of a trade war 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.

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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 StrangeCrowley surprise tops huge night for left Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Loyalty to Donald Trump is new normal for the Republican Party 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.