Politics

McConnell’s Senate Colleagues Defend Him Against Trump Attacks

Graham: ‘You should hold us all accountable for the promises we made’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been under attack all week by President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators are coming to the defense of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after President Donald Trump spent the week criticizing the Kentucky Republican for so far failing to advance the GOP agenda.

Trump, who is currently vacationing at a golf resort in New Jersey, has fired off a number of tweets critical of the Kentucky Republican and backed those posts up with threats to his future as the Senate leader.

While McConnell has so far stayed mum on the attacks, several Republican lawmakers are speaking up in defense of him.

“I like him a lot. I have no desire to replace Mitch McConnell as leader but I want outcomes. You should hold me and Mitch McConnell, including the president, you should hold us all accountable for the promises we made,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told a local radio station Friday.

Other GOP members, such as Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, took to Trump’s favorite communication platform to express their support for McConnell.

Asked later Friday what he made of the senators’ defense of McConnell, the president said, “I don’t make anything of it.”

Speaking to reporters at his golf club in New Jersey, Trump continued to direct his ire at the majority leader, saying, “We should have had health care approved. He should have know that he had a couple of votes that turned on him and that should have been very easy to handle, whether it’s through the fact that can take away a committee chairmanship or do whatever you have to do. But what, in my opinion, last week is unacceptable. … I was not impressed.”

Earlier this week, McConnell said the White House had set “excessive expectations” over how quickly Congress could advance the GOP agenda.

“Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before,” McConnell told a Rotary Club meeting in northern Kentucky. “And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”

Other notable conservatives, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity, conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, and White House aide Dan Scavino Jr., have also joined the president in attacking McConnell.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.