Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over the crappy border deal, suggesting on Tuesday that McConnell should step down from his leadership position.
“A Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans,” Cruz said during a press conference, responding to a question over whether McConnell should step aside, the Daily Caller reports.
.@LeaderMcConnell: “We can all agree that Senator Cruz is not a fan.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, pointing to what he called the mismanagement of a border security and Ukraine funding package, said Tuesday it’s time for Sen. Mitch McConnell to step down as the Senate GOP leader.
Cruz was… pic.twitter.com/xLQqhZJ7uj
— The Hill (@thehill) February 6, 2024
Republicans in both chambers slammed the bill, which would allow 1.5 million illegal immigrants into the country per year, shift legal disputes over the border to courts in Washington DC, and sends around $80 billion to Ukraine and Israel.
“The Senate Amnesty Bill literally would force President Trump to let in illegals well into his term,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in a Sunday post on X. “Any Republican who votes for this is no better than a Democrat!”
There’s a LOT going on in this statement from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of Mitch McConnell’s top lieutenants and the head of the Senate Republican conference.
Barrasso and McConnell are in a real jam here, because it was Mitch McConnell who actually negotiated the abominable amnesty bill with Chuck Schumer, and it was Mitch McConnell who enlisted James Lankford to sell it. The entire exercise was a disaster, and now McConnell is trying to wash his hands of the whole mess. So who to blame?
That’s the key question Republican senators are trying to answer. In this statement from Barrasso, it’s obvious that McConnell has decided to cast Lankford as the victim and Joe Biden, who doesn’t even know what decade it is, as the mastermind behind the amnesty bill debacle.
What’s really going on here is members feel bad for Lankford, who they genuinely like, and are not happy with McConnell for making them nearly walk the plank on one of the worst immigration bills this century. McConnell has been slowly losing control of his conference due to his poor health, which his staff are unable to hide, and his increasingly poor decision making. McConnell is losing his grip on power, everyone in the Capitol knows it even if they won’t say it out loud, and this is causing an existential crisis among incompetent McConnell staff and hangers-on whose entire livelihoods depend on the ability of McConnell to browbeat industry interests into hiring them and giving them money. Without him, they are nothing, so he must be propped up and protected at all costs.
Meanwhile, a group of moderate senators trying to figure out how this whole thing went sideways so quickly has formed what Senate insiders have dubbed the “Poor James” caucus: Poor James didn’t have a chance. Poor James was put in an awful situation. Poor James deserved better than this. They feel sorry for him, but they don’t want to blame him for the whole mess.
So what do McConnell’s lieutenants do when it becomes obvious even to them that no one is going to support this bill they desperately wanted to pass? They can’t publicly blame McConnell, even though deep down they know it’s his fault, that he’s really not up to the job anymore, and it’s probably time for him to move on. Easy: they blame Biden, who is such an obvious political mastermind operating at the top of his game, for tricking poor James Lankford into shilling for a bill everyone knows was written by McConnell and Schumer.
They know nobody normal is going to believe this. All they care about is convincing 5-10 dumb GOP senators that this is totally not Mitch McConnell’s fault for nearly destroying his conference over an insane gambit to cost Trump (and Republicans) the 2024 election by giving Democrats political cover for a toxic crisis they deliberately created, voting for a bill that does nothing to fix the border, and giving another $60 billion to the only nation Mitch McConnell actually cares about protecting: Ukraine.