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Tags: mitch mcconnell | john thune | senate | republicans | leader | donald trump | divisions

Race to Replace McConnell Exposes Trump Divisions

By    |   Friday, 01 March 2024 08:45 AM EST

Replacing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced this week he will step down from his leadership role this fall, is exposing the divisions in the party's lawmakers over former President Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

While some Senate Republicans are calling for the next party leader to be aligned with Trump, others want McConnell's successor to remain distant, reports The Hill.

McConnell, R-Ky., and Trump reportedly have not spoken since just after the 2020 presidential election, and many GOP senators say they want to end the party's tensions when replacing their longtime party leader.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., said it is "imperative" for the next leader to work closely with Trump.

"We've got to get somebody now who's going to energize our base all across the country for Senate Republicans and also going to be able to get on that airplane with Trump and stand up at a rally and say, 'Listen, we need President Trump to win,' and be very truthful about it," Tuberville commented.

However, other Republicans say they are concerned about Trump's election loss in 2020 and his record of endorsing party candidates after the 2022 midterms.

They're also concerned about Trump's growing influence in the chamber, including last month, when he pushed party members to reject a package combining funding for Ukraine and border security reforms.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who told CNN this week that he would "absolutely not" support Trump over Biden in the November election, commented that many of his fellow Republicans in the Senate are endorsing Trump because of political "self-preservation."

Further, Romney said many other senators in his party want a different nominee for the White House.

"If you were to ask individuals: 'OK, if you could choose anyone to be the Republican nominee,' I don't think he would be likely to get the majority of the caucus," Romney, who is not running for reelection, told The Hill.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune, R-S.D., and former Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, have had a mixed relationship over the years with Trump, who is pushing for Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., to replace McConnell.

Trump slammed Thune as a "RINO" in 2020 after the senator opposed efforts to delay Biden's certification, and threatened him with a primary challenge in 2022.

The former president also has referred to Cornyn as a "RINO" after he negotiated a bipartisan bill on gun violence after the Uvalde, Texas, school shootings.

Thune and Cornyn reportedly have spoken to Trump in recent days to point out how they have worked to further his agenda, however.

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who hasn't endorsed Trump's race, said the former president's endorsement could help or hurt a candidate for McConnell's seat.

Thune has endorsed Trump's race, but Rounds said his ability to keep his distance from Trump may help him become the next Senate GOP leader.

"I've known John for 30 years," Rounds said of his South Dakota colleague. "He doesn't play games. He's straightforward. What you see is what you get. He grew up in a time in which Ronald Reagan was a guy we both admired."

Cornyn also has endorsed Trump.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
Replacing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced this week he will step down from his leadership role this fall, is exposing the divisions in the party's lawmakers over former President Donald Trump.
mitch mcconnell, john thune, senate, republicans, leader, donald trump, divisions
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2024-45-01
Friday, 01 March 2024 08:45 AM
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