Brooks vows to not back McConnell as leader amid Trump criticism
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) vowed in a new digital ad that he will support booting Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from his role as GOP leader if Brooks is elected to the Senate this year.
The announcement makes Brooks the third Republican Senate candidate in the country so far to back ousting McConnell from his perch and comes as former President Trump expressed frustration with Brooks’s Alabama Senate campaign and even hinted he could rescind his endorsement.
“Today, I unveil my pledge to America to fire Mitch McConnell. If elected to the Senate, I will not vote for Mitch McConnell for leader, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that Republicans choose a conservative to be leader. America can’t afford a Senate leader who is a weak-kneed, debt junkie, open-border RINO Republican, and who, worse yet, sells out America for special interest group cash,” Brooks said, using an acronym for “Republican in name only.”
Brooks is the latest member of a trio of Senate candidates, including Eric Greitens in Missouri and Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska, running anti-establishment campaigns in Trump’s mold. The former president has endorsed Brooks and Tshibaka but has yet to venture into Missouri’s Senate race.
The new ad from Brooks comes at a precarious time for the six-term lawmaker’s Senate bid.
Brooks has hinged much of his campaign on Trump’s endorsement, but the former president has expressed frustration with the Alabamian over remarks at a rally last year in which he urged attendees to move on from the 2020 election, which Trump has said, without evidence, was marred by fraud.
“I’m disappointed that he gave an inarticulate answer, and I’ll have to find out what he means,” Trump told The Washington Examiner last week. “If it meant what he sounded like, I would have no problem changing [my endorsement] because when you endorse somebody, you endorse somebody based on principle. If he changed that principle, I would have no problem doing that.”
The new anti-McConnell ad could be a way to put Brooks back in Trump’s good graces. Trump and McConnell have a famously chilly relationship and are not thought to be on speaking terms. The former president has gone after the Senate GOP leader on several occasions, pushing for someone to usurp him.
However, while much of the GOP remains loyal to Trump, few candidates have outright said they’ll try to boot McConnell. Besides the trio who have made the vow, a small handful of others have only flirted with the idea.
In the ad, Brooks challenged his Senate primary opponents to join him, potentially staking out a new litmus test for how loyal to Trump they are.
Brooks will face Mike Durant, a former combat pilot, and Katie Britt, a former aide to retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), whose seat the three candidates are trying to fill, in a May 24 primary.
“I urge my opponents, Katie Britt and Mike Durant, to join me. Do you stand with grassroots conservatives or Mitch McConnell and the RINOs?” Brooks asked. “Sign this pledge and tell conservatives you’ll fire Mitch McConnell too. I hope Republican Senate candidates nationwide will sign this pledge and send a message to America that we stand with Donald Trump, not Mitch McConnell.”
A spokesperson for McConnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.