These top GOP Senators claim Mitch McConnell threw the base “under the bus” with this dirty deal

Feb 23, 2024

Mitch McConnell has made his career on selling out the conservative GOP voters.

But his most recent sell out may be the one that finally ends his reign as Senate GOP leader.

That’s because these top GOP Senators claim Mitch McConnell threw the base “under the bus” with this dirty deal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the pro-Ukraine warmongers within the GOP conference gave away all their leverage by voting to send billions more in aid to Ukraine.

Still no border deal

That’s because they did so despite not reaching a border security deal.

And now, more and more Republican Senators are saying they have had enough of McConnell’s continued preemptive surrenders to the Democrats.

Recently, several Republican Senators who are increasingly frustrated with party leadership have been speaking out publicly.

Most recently Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) joined with longtime McConnell rival Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) in attacking McConnell in interviews with the Daily Caller and other media outlets. 

They also praised House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who said any Ukraine aid without border provisions will be “dead on arrival” in the House. 

“I cannot even believe how badly McConnell blew this,” Johnson told the Caller. “McConnell frittered away the leverage we have in the Senate.”

“It is challenging to negotiate for border security from a position of strength when too many legislators share the Democrats’ conviction that defending Ukraine is more important than defending America,” Lee said.

The latest disgust with McConnell comes after Republicans in both chambers of Congress pushed for a compromise from Democrats and President Joe Biden, who have made aid for Ukraine a top priority.

These Republicans wanted to try and tie any further support for Ukraine to concessions on addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

McConnell gives Democrats everything they wanted

When all was said and done, Republicans didn’t get anything they wanted out of the deal. 

In fact, the original bipartisan Senate border and foreign aid bill negotiated by Republican leadership and Oklahoma Senator James Lankford didn’t even make it to a full vote.

Massive public backlash and opposition from former President Donald Trump ended that version.

But in the end, Democrats did end up getting everything they wanted after 22 Republican Senators joined with Democrats and voted to pass nearly $100 billion in military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan last week, without any border deal.

Rachel Bovard, the Vice President of Programs at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), said Republicans will never get a solid border deal unless they are willing to walk away from the negotiation table.

“As long as enough Republicans are prepared to vote for the final product no matter what, they will never be able to cut a deal for policies that actually solve the border crisis,” Bovard told the Daily Caller.

“It certainly doesn’t seem that Senate Republican leaders were that serious about the Ukraine/border tradeoff. Sen. Rick Scott has said publicly that McConnell took the idea of tying Ukraine funding to border enforcement off the table. Sen. Thom Tillis said he wouldn’t support a bill that didn’t have support from the majority of the GOP conference, and then he did exactly that. And Sen. Mitt Romney gave away the game when, on the Senate floor, he called the Ukraine aid vote – without a border deal attached to it — ‘the most important vote senators will ever take,’” she continued.

The bill now faces a tough road in the House due to Speaker Johnson’s opposition. 

But Senate Republicans have lost all their leverage on a possible border deal for now, depending on what ultimately happens to Ukraine aid in the House.

“The reason so many of us are speaking out the way we are against McConnell was the way he blew this. It’s historic. It was a monumental blunder, debacle. We don’t appreciate it. But again, the good news is, if the house doesn’t pass this, we still have that leverage,” Senator Johnson said. 

“Of the many components of this blunder, maybe the most important was not recognizing that your negotiating partner was not negotiating in good faith … [all] Democrats wanted was political cover, and McConnell gave it to them. Again, this is historic in nature. What Senate leader from either party has done so much to give their political opponent the kind of political cover that McConnell just handed over to the Democrats on a silver platter. It’s just it’s jaw-dropping,” Johnson continued.

“It is clear that Senate GOP leadership did not begin border negotiations by seeking victory— they wanted a sop to throw conservatives so they could pass their real priority, which was Ukraine funding. And so, we were presented with a bill that wouldn’t do what Republicans demanded — forcing the Biden administration to achieve operational control of the border,” Lee added.

Republican leadership’s prioritization of Ukraine over the southern border will come back to haunt them with voters. 

Immigration consistently ranks as one of the top issues for all Americans, especially Republicans.

But support for aid to Ukraine does not.

And that could be the final nail in the coffin for McConnell.

Hot Take Politics will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.

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