Mo Brooks, facing a tight Republican primary for Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat in Alabama, is no fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him the “head of the swamp.”
“Inside the Republican conference, Mitch McConnell’s got to go,” Brooks said a breakfast event hosted by the Heritage Foundation. “Absolutely, he is the head of the swamp in the United States Senate.”
Brooks, challenging sitting Sen. Luther Strange to serve the rest of Session’s term, is opposing McConnell in an effort to push the race further to the right. Senate Leadership Fund — the super PAC linked to McConnell — has poured millions into the Strange campaign.
Alabama’s midsummer GOP primary, notes CNN, has become a proxy battle over the direction of the Republican Party. Brooks is one of the leaders in what has become a three-candidate race, including Strange and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. They are the candidates most likely to be the top vote-getters in the Aug. 15 primary, with a Sept. 26 runoff if no single candidate emerges with 50 percent plus one of the vote.
Brooks, seeking the label of staunchest conservative in the race, blasted both McConnell and President Donald Trump: “This primary, to sum it up succinctly, everybody in this room is familiar with Donald Trump, candidate, pledging that as President Trump he would drain the swamp,” Brooks said Wednesday. “In this Senate race, the swamp is fighting back and the swamp’s candidate is Luther Strange. … All those swamp critters feel like he’s at home and he is at home.”
According to CNN, Brooks wouldn’t say who he would back to replace McConnell, but did acknowledge “a number of other senators” he would support. He also wouldn’t say if he would support a primary challenger to McConnell in Kentucky, and suggested the Majority Leader should get out of the Senate entirely.
“I want to see — out of the Senate and out of the House — people who see the United States Congress as a toy or a plaything or as a trophy or as a thing of stature,” Brooks said, adding that he would support senators willing to tackle the country’s national debt, something he believes is directly leading to American insolvency.
Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, also has multiple complaints about McConnell, particularly his support of a 60-vote legislative filibuster, where lawmakers have to be “groveling at the feet of (Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer” before legislation can pass.
“He’s wrong and it’s hurting America,” Brooks added. “I would do what I can with my one vote (if elected) to go back to majority rule.”
Brooks also railed about negative ads from McConnell’s PAC trying to paint him as a liberal.
“If you had seen some of the ads that McConnell has run … you might understand my consternation,” Brooks told the audience. “The deceit coming from the Senate leadership is remarkable, and that’s coming from a person who has been active as a candidate … for 35 years.”
Brooks also had words for Trump, warning the president that he should keep his campaign promises and stop attacking his attorney general — which he had earlier called a “public waterboarding.”
“A lot of people who are conservatives have great respect for Jeff Sessions and what he has accomplished,” Brooks said Wednesday. “The respect for Jeff Sessions is so great that I’m sure if President Trump were to fire Jeff Sessions or embarrass Jeff Sessions into quitting, that a lot of President Trump voters, particularly in the primary, will have mixed feelings about what is going on,” Brooks said.