The nation might be seeing some of the first obvious signs of a McConnell versus Trump fight for control of the Republican party in a reported feud between Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell over a recent agreement to keep the government afloat and not defaulting.
Trump, quite obviously wanted the government to default because one gets the sense that Trump would light the country on fire if it gave him an advantage over President Biden. In a statement coming out Wednesday night, Trump said:
“Mitch McConnell just folded on the Debt Ceiling, a total victory for the Democrats—didn’t use it to kill the $5 Trillion Dollar (real number!) Build Back Worse Bill that will essentially change the fabric of our Country forever.
“The Dems would have folded completely if Mitch properly played his hand, and if not, the Debt Ceiling scenario would be far less destructive than the Bill that will get passed. He has all the cards to win, but not the ‘guts’ to play them.”
As easy as it is for a Democrat to hate McConnell for his maneuvering to cheat Democrats over the years, it is somewhat humorous watching Trump try to tell McConnell how to run the Senate as a minority leader.
The division in the two wings of the GOP may be showing in heated meetings between Graham, who – for reasons that no one really understands, must follow Trump’s orders, and McConnell, who is allowed to do his own thing without bowing to Trump. According to Punchbowl News:
“Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, berated him, as did several other GOP senators attending the session. Graham doesn’t like the decision by McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to attach the debt-limit process provisions to an underlying bill delaying Medicare sequestration cuts scheduled to kick in on Jan. 1,”
These are the type of feuds that the Democrats should come to expect over the next year as Congress focuses more and more upon the 2022 elections, while Trump keeps his focus solely upon 2024. It will not surprise anyone that Graham will often serve as Trump’s proxy.
Trump will want to use any opportunity to hurt Biden, even though it may often involve hurting the country at the same time, like the default bill. Meanwhile, McConnell wants to be the majority leader of the Senate far more than he wants Trump to be president in 2024. McConnell has shown himself to be almost as powerful as the president when he runs the Senate.
The fight was inevitable and will only intensify when it comes to supporting certain primary candidates. Trump will support candidates based upon the same measures he uses in everything he does, “loyalty,” which is how we get so many Boeberts, Taylor-Greenes, and Cawthorns. Meanwhile, McConnell will want people who can win, the John Cornyn or John Kennedy types, people who are non-controversial and can speak.
Thus it is, that everyone who has ever believed in “divide and conquer,” which should include every Democrat in Congress, should be heartened to see it playing out in real time.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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