Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDomestic extremists return to the Capitol GOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Internal poll shows Barnes with 29-point lead in Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary MORE (R-Wis.) tore into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally House to act on debt ceiling next week MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday, saying the record-long government shutdown was McConnell’s “fault,” according to The Washington Post.
Frustrated Republican senators lashed out at each other and Vice President Pence on Thursday during a private GOP lunch.
“This is your fault,” Johnson told the Republican leader, according to the Post.
“Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?” McConnell reportedly fired back.
Johnson’s spokesperson, Ben Voelkel, confirmed the confrontation to the Post.
Voelkel said Johnson was expressing his frustration with the two opposing bills to reopen the government that both failed in the upper chamber shortly after the encounter.
McConnell aides declined to comment on the luncheon to the newspaper.
The Thursday votes in the Senate were the first since the shutdown began on Dec. 22.
McConnell has blocked all previous measures to reopen the government amid the longest shutdown in U.S. history, previously citing the need for President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE’s approval.
Trump has demanded $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
McConnell made a stunning admission during the Senate luncheon, telling Pence that closing the government to secure Trump’s long-desired border wall was not a smart move.
“McConnell talked about how we need to bring this process to a close; we should never have had a shutdown; they don’t work; I’ve said this numerous times; I don’t know how many times I’ve told you there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” a GOP source familiar with the meeting told The Hill.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime MORE (R-Texas) told reporters after the Senate votes that Pence got an “earful” from senators.
“We’re all hearing from our constituents who are working for no pay,” Cornyn said. “And there’s a parade of horribles of how people who are having to cope with not getting paid, and it’s not good.”
“There was a lot of frustration expressed about the situation we find ourselves in,” he added.