While President Donald Trump hammers Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell over the lack forward movement on his Republican agenda, candidates in Alabama’s U.S. Senate primary are just a slow to defend the majority leader.
POLITICO reports that Huntsville Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, in an interview Thursday, found it “baffling” Trump is endorsing sitting Sen. Luther Strange, a move that he said would “ensure nothing will get done.”
Brooks had “no question” Trump’s criticism of McConnell was justified, telling the interviewer: “Mitch McConnell, if he’s not gonna get the job done, needs to resign so someone else can try to get the job done.”
Strange, who is considered the Republican establishment candidate, also echoed Trump’s comment for “Mitch, get back to work.”
“We all need to get back to work,” Strange said in Homewood this week after a county Republican Party meeting. “I was part of the group of Republican senators who said we shouldn’t even take a vacation. I don’t know why we’re taking a vacation. We should be working to pass the president’s agenda and deal with the problems we failed to address last time.”
Strange later admitted “he’s frustrated like I am, and this is no secret,” but stop short of suggesting the Senate GOP leadership needed to change.
“We all talked about it,” Strange added. “Said, if we failed to do what’s promised, we’re going to look silly and rightfully be criticized. And so, I have no problem with the president saying that at all.”
McConnell has been a major figure in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary, mostly through the Senate leadership fund, super PAC with ties to the majority leader.
Strange supporters have been blasting Brooks with a series of negative ads, as well as recently turning attention to Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been leading in the polls by as much as eight points.
Nevertheless, McConnell has been weathering attacks from the president on Twitter, expressing frustration with McConnell and the Senate GOP’s failure to make headway in repealing Obamacare last month.
“I’ll tell you what: If he doesn’t get repeal-and-replace done, and if he doesn’t get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question,” Trump said during his 17-day vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey.
McConnell responded through a representative: “The leader has spoken repeatedly about the path forward regarding Obamacare repeal-and-replace on the Senate floor, at media availabilities and in Kentucky.”
As for Moore, the candidate is trying to stay above the fray between Trump and McConnell, saying the fight is “between them.” But the former justice has not expressed an affinity for the Kentucky Republican.
“I’m not going to say anything good about Mitch McConnell, who’s running the fund that’s attacking me with ads. Now, I won’t do that,” Moore told POLITICO recently. “But I won’t say anything bad out him … I won’t judge that. That’s between them.”
Unless one of the candidates can secure a 50 percent plus one majority of the vote in Tuesday’s primary, Alabama voters will have to decide between the top two vote-getters in a Sept. 26 runoff. The general election is Dec. 12.