GOP rep. says McConnell is 'head of the swamp'

GOP rep. says McConnell is 'head of the swamp'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksCoulter slams Trump as 'lazy and incompetent,’ says he could face primary challenger Dems press Pentagon officials to explain why troops are still at border House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber MORE (R-Ala.) said he would not support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGreen New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing ‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault MORE (R-Ky.) if he’s elected to the Senate.

In an interview with reporters Wednesday on immigration, Brooks took the opportunity to rail against McConnell's leadership and Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), whom he is hoping to unseat in the Republican primary for former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' MORE’s spot in the chamber.

"Inside the Republican Conference, Mitch McConnell has got to go," Brooks said. "He is the head of the swamp in the U.S. Senate."

Brooks's distaste for McConnell likely stems from the fact that the majority leader has thrown his weight behind Strange, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by the attorney general in the months before the special election. 

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McConnell has told groups such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee to treat Strange as the incumbent, a designation that gives him a major leg up on fundraising and organizational muscle, considering the NRSC has a policy to blacklist vendors that work with candidates challenging their incumbents. 

The Senate Leadership Fund, the de facto super PAC of GOP Senate leadership, has already hammered Brooks with a $2.5 million ad campaign that brings up Brooks's criticisms of Trump during the 2016 GOP presidential primary. The group has budgeted up to $10 million for the race. And the NRSC has the green light to spend $350,000 on Strange's behalf. 

Brooks has decried that push, seeking to frame the investments as Washington interests meddling in Alabama's elections. He's long blasted the SLF as "swamp critters" in hopes of echoing Trump's "drain the swamp" mantra. 

"This primary, to sum it up succinctly, everybody in this room is familiar with Donald Trump, candidate, pledging that as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE he would try to drain the Washington swamp.

"In this Senate race, the swamp is fighting back, and the swamp’s candidate is Luther Strange," Brooks said.

He added that Strange was certain to support McConnell if reelected, as well as the Senate's 60-vote filibuster rule.

"This is a major battle. If the American people want to continue with the kind of frustration … we’ve seen over the last six months where the Republicans have the House and Senate and the White House and can’t address these major issues, the reason for it is the 60 percent rule in the Senate. That is a major definitional point between my campaign and Luther Strange’s," he said.

Brooks also questioned Trump's allegiance to his own campaign promises, zeroing in on the president's recent attacks on Sessions.

"It reminds me of the kinds of public statements we saw before [former FBI Director James] Comey was terminated," Brooks said.

"The respect for Jeff Sessions is so great that I’m sure if President Trump were to fire or embarrass Jeff Sessions into quitting, that a lot of President Trump voters, particularly in the primary, will have mixed feelings about what is going on," he added.

Earlier this week, Brooks released a controversial ad that uses audio from the June shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). 

Some in Scalise’s camp slammed the ad as an attempt to use the shooting for political gain, further widening the rift between Brooks and GOP leadership.