GOP senators back Senate Majority Leader McConnell after Trump's taunts

Key Points
  • GOP senators line up behind Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after President Donald Trump repeatedly slams him.
  • Trump's attacks on McConnell come as Republican senators have increasingly kept their distance from the president.
GOP senators back Senate Majority Leader McConnell after Trump's taunts

Top Republican senators rallied behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell following a series of jabs he took from President Donald Trump.

Trump has slammed the Kentucky Republican multiple times this week for what Trump calls his failure to follow through on the GOP agenda. On Thursday, he told reporters "you can ask me" if McConnell should step down from leadership if he does not pass bills to repeal and replace Obamacare, reform the tax system, and overhaul U.S. infrastructure.

Several of McConnell's GOP colleagues threw their support behind him following Trump's attacks.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., the second-ranking Senate Republican, on Friday said "no one is more qualified" to head the Senate in the "team effort" to pass Trump's agenda.

Passing POTUS's legislative agenda requires a team effort. No one is more qualified than Mitch McConnell to lead Senate in that effort.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the longest-serving Republican currently in the Senate, on Thursday said he "fully" supports McConnell. Hatch called the Kentucky Republican "the best leader we've had in my time in the Senate."

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., among others, also shared messages supporting McConnell.

The comments show GOP senators have little appetite, at this point, to push McConnell out of his role.

Trump's jabs likely will not help relations between the president and Republican senators when lawmakers return from recess. The Senate GOP has increasingly shrugged off suggestions from Trump as he faces low approval ratings and struggles to enact his agenda. For example, the president has urged senators to keep trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but that has fallen on mostly deaf ears.

Trump started throwing verbal taunts at McConnell after the senator said Trump had "excessive expectations" about how quickly legislation can pass. McConnell on Tuesday partly blamed deadlines set by Trump and others for the perception that Republicans have failed to follow through on their campaign promises.

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