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 McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters 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 FlakeGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Sasse: RNC help for Roy Moore 'doesn't make any sense' Sasse calls RNC decision to resume support for Moore 'bad' and 'sad' MORE [R-Ariz.] and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' 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 StrangeGOP sen: ‘Just a fact’ Moore will face ethics complaint if elected Trevor Noah: Trump must be ‘morally degenerate’ to back Roy Moore Moore gets boost from Bannon in final days of campaign 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.