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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Rounds ‘told the truth’ about 2020 election McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump’s attacks Top Republicans pressing Hogan to run for Senate MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he will run for another term as the chamber’s top GOP leader at the end of the year, shutting down the possibility of a shake-up in the Republican chain of command.
“I’m going to be running again for leader later this year,” he told reporters Tuesday when asked how long he plans to hold onto his job.
McConnell has come under withering criticism from former President TrumpDonald TrumpMcConnell: Rounds ‘told the truth’ about 2020 election Abrams thanks Biden for Georgia speech, backs call for Senate rules change Kerik to sit for ‘voluntary interview’ with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says MORE over the past year after blaming Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
McConnell has also been the target of Trump’s wrath after voting for a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a proposal to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by themselves with a simple majority vote.
But McConnell, who will turn 80 in February, made clear on Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to step down from the Senate Republican leader’s job anytime soon, despite Trump’s pressure.
McConnell made his statement a few days after his top deputy, Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell: Rounds ‘told the truth’ about 2020 election McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump’s attacks Johnson, Thune signal GOP’s rising confidence MORE (R-S.D.), ended months of speculation by announcing over the weekend that he would run for a fourth Senate term.
Thune is allowed to serve two more years as the Republican whip before he will be required to step down from the post at the end of 2024 because of the Senate Republican Conference’s term-limit rules for leadership posts. Those term limits, however, do not apply to the top leader.
McConnell was elected to a seventh Senate term in 2020 by a nearly 20-point margin over Democrat Amy McGrath and won’t be up for reelection until 2026.
He has consistently avoided answering questions about his relationship with Trump by saying he’s focused on fighting President BidenJoe BidenMcConnell: Rounds ‘told the truth’ about 2020 election Abrams thanks Biden for Georgia speech, backs call for Senate rules change Overnight Health Care — Biden officials take heat at Senate hearing MORE’s multi-trillion-dollar agenda in Congress and helping Republicans win back the Senate majority in 2022.
But some Republicans have raised questions about whether he can effectively serve as leader while his relationship with the former president remains strained.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Amazon’s Alabama union fight — take two McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump’s attacks Senate Judiciary Committee to debate key antitrust bill MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump’s, said last month that a Republican leader in Congress needs to have “a working relationship with Donald Trump” or “you cannot be effective.”
Republican senators say none of McConnell’s possible heirs apparent — neither Thune nor Senate Republican Conference Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoMcConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump’s attacks Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection Biden’s court picks face fierce GOP opposition MORE (R-Wyo.) nor former Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump’s attacks Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection MORE (R-Texas) — appear to be actively jockeying to replace McConnell.
GOP senators say they don’t know of any Republican senator who plans to challenge McConnell for the top Republican leadership slot in the Senate despite his rocky relationship with Trump, who remains popular with Republican base voters.
Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunMcConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump’s attacks Biden’s court picks face fierce GOP opposition Senate Republicans call on Biden to lift vaccine mandate for truckers crossing Canadian border MORE (R-Ind.) on Tuesday said no one’s making a move to replace McConnell.
“As long as he is in the Senate, he’s going to want to be the leader, in the minority or the majority,” Braun said. “In terms of his wrestling match with President Trump, that’s an issue that I guess will sort itself out over time.”
Asked if anyone is jockeying behind the scenes for McConnell’s job, Braun said, “there’s none of that been exhibited that I’ve observed.”
“Once McConnell would make his mind up one way or the other, I’m sure there would be a jockeying for that would become quite apparent,” he said.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), a Trump ally and former college football coach, said McConnell’s doing a “good job,” shrugging off the former president’s scathing criticism of the leader.
“I think he does a good job,” he said. “It’s kind of like being a head coach in football, people look at sometimes the outward statements. They don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, the organization, the planning, getting people to work together.”
Tuberville said he thinks McConnell as compiled a good record over the past year and doesn’t know of anyone looking to usurp his leadership.
“I have not heard anybody say anything negative,” he added.
This story was updated at 5:09 p.m.
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