McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' It's time for 'Uncle Joe' to take off the gloves against Manchin and Sinema Democrats should ignore Senators Manchin and Sinema MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he will run for another term as the chamber’s top GOP leader at the end of the year, shutting down the possibility of a shake-up in the Republican chain of command.  

“I’m going to be running again for leader later this year,” he told reporters Tuesday when asked how long he plans to hold onto his job. 

McConnell has come under withering criticism from former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE over the past year after blaming Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.  

ADVERTISEMENT

McConnell has also been the target of Trump’s wrath after voting for a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a proposal to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by themselves with a simple majority vote.  

But McConnell, who will turn 80 in February, made clear on Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to step down from the Senate Republican leader’s job anytime soon, despite Trump’s pressure.  

McConnell made his statement a few days after his top deputy, Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThere is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  MORE (R-S.D.), ended months of speculation by announcing over the weekend that he would run for a fourth Senate term.  

Thune is allowed to serve two more years as the Republican whip before he will be required to step down from the post at the end of 2024 because of the Senate Republican Conference’s term-limit rules for leadership posts. Those term limits, however, do not apply to the top leader.  

McConnell was elected to a seventh Senate term in 2020 by a nearly 20-point margin over Democrat Amy McGrath and won’t be up for reelection until 2026.  

ADVERTISEMENT

He has consistently avoided answering questions about his relationship with Trump by saying he’s focused on fighting President BidenJoe BidenNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Clyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes Overnight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia MORE’s multi-trillion-dollar agenda in Congress and helping Republicans win back the Senate majority in 2022.  

But some Republicans have raised questions about whether he can effectively serve as leader while his relationship with the former president remains strained.  

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamClyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes The names to know as Biden mulls Breyer's replacement Schumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump’s, said last month that a Republican leader in Congress needs to have “a working relationship with Donald Trump” or “you cannot be effective.”  

Republican senators say none of McConnell’s possible heirs apparent — neither Thune nor Senate Republican Conference Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWatch: GOP leaders discuss Biden's first year in office McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection MORE (R-Wyo.) nor former Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate Republicans press federal authorities for information on Texas synagogue hostage-taker Senators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Momentum builds for new COVID-19 relief for businesses MORE (R-Texas) — appear to be actively jockeying to replace McConnell.  

GOP senators say they don’t know of any Republican senator who plans to challenge McConnell for the top Republican leadership slot in the Senate despite his rocky relationship with Trump, who remains popular with Republican base voters.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunBiden administration withdraws its vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador The Memo: Supreme Court, Sinema deliver twin blows to Biden MORE (R-Ind.) on Tuesday said no one’s making a move to replace McConnell. 

“As long as he is in the Senate, he’s going to want to be the leader, in the minority or the majority,” Braun said. “In terms of his wrestling match with President Trump, that’s an issue that I guess will sort itself out over time.” 

Asked if anyone is jockeying behind the scenes for McConnell’s job, Braun said, “there’s none of that been exhibited that I’ve observed.” 

“Once McConnell would make his mind up one way or the other, I’m sure there would be a jockeying for that would become quite apparent,” he said.  

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), a Trump ally and former college football coach, said McConnell’s doing a “good job,” shrugging off the former president’s scathing criticism of the leader.  

“I think he does a good job,” he said. “It’s kind of like being a head coach in football, people look at sometimes the outward statements. They don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, the organization, the planning, getting people to work together.”  

Tuberville said he thinks McConnell as compiled a good record over the past year and doesn’t know of anyone looking to usurp his leadership.  

“I have not heard anybody say anything negative,” he added.  

This story was updated at 5:09 p.m.