Right and Left React to Bannon’s Harsh Words for McConnell

Right and Left React to Bannon’s Harsh Words for McConnell

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Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard:

“Democrats won’t be pleased. The steps McConnell has taken in recent weeks are aimed at thwarting their efforts to block, sideline, or delay President Trump’s nominees.”

Mr. Barnes explains, in detail, all the ways that Mr. McConnell has aided the judicial confirmation process. This includes, Mr. Barnes points out, a revision of the “blue slip” process, which in the past allowed senators to hold up a judge’s confirmation by refusing to return their blue slip, or recommendation, to the committee. Read more »

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Susan Wright in RedState:

“Donald Trump doesn’t like being upstaged, and today’s Rose Garden conference looked suspiciously like a dash of cold water, right in Bannon’s uppity face.”

President Trump’s news conference with Mr. McConnell sent a very clear message to Mr. Bannon, at least according to Ms. Wright. The president has, for the time being, aligned himself with the Senate majority leader and focused, as a point of pride, on the nominations of conservative judges. Read more »

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From the Left

Photo

Mitch McConnell, left, the Senate majority leader, with President Trump in the Rose Garden on Monday. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine:

“Bannon doesn’t have any way of targeting potential impeachment votes directly. But Republican senators who don’t want to purge McConnell or eliminate the filibuster are a pretty decent proxy.”

While Mr. Chait admits that it might be “a mistake to attribute any serious strategic planning” to Mr. Bannon, he nonetheless speculates about why the former White House adviser might be targeting Mr. McConnell. Perhaps, he writes, Mr. Bannon is focusing his efforts on senators willing to impeach the president. Perhaps, he also posits, the Republican Party is used to running on a cycle of purges, starting with Newt Gingrich’s stint as speaker in the 1990s. Read more »

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Kerry Eleveld in Daily Kos:

“Both Trump and McConnell made sure to play down expectations, reminding reporters that it took Ronald Reagan ‘years’ to get tax reform done in 1986.”

The main point of Monday’s news conference, Ms. Eleveld argues, is to reassure people that reports of Mr. McConnell’s rocky relationship with the president were false. However, she writes, the alliance may be short-lived. Particularly if “the G.O.P. fails to deliver on taxes,” then “all bets are off” and the president will have no hesitation to “tear congressional Republicans limb from limb.” Read more »

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Greg Sargent in The Washington Post:

“Trump allies and Republicans are so desperate to pass this tax plan that they’re also doubling down on another strange argument: If Republicans don’t get this plan passed, their majority in Congress is doomed — and with it, so is the Trump agenda.”

It is possible that the public friendliness between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell is about the Republicans’ desperation to pass tax reform, suggests Mr. Sargent. He is wary of the narrative supplied by Mr. Bannon and more establishment figures like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “The only conceivable way for the G.O.P. to save itself from the ‘economic populist’ ferment among G.O.P. voters is to pass an enormous tax cut for the wealthy and corporations?” He writes. “Can someone explain why we are supposed to believe this?” Read more »

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Finally, From the Center

Al Cross in The Kentucky Standard:

“The chances of Republicans losing their Senate majority, or McConnell being ousted, seem remote at this point. But we said likewise of Trump when he began running.”

Mr. Cross, writing for The Kentucky Standard in Mr. McConnell’s home state, argues that the tension with the president marks Mr. McConnell’s biggest challenge so far. He warns that even if Mr. McConnell achieves a legislative win and sees tax reform through, that may not be enough to save him in the primaries. “Bannon seems out to cash in on the Trump base, and McConnell’s critics smell blood,” Mr. Cross writes. Read more »

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