“He has demonstrated that he either does not understand the frustration coming from conservatives and the urgency of passing key legislation – or he does not care,” FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said in a statement on Wednesday. “It’s time for new leadership.”
FreedomWorks, a Washington advocacy group aligned with the Tea Party, has criticized McConnell’s leadership for years, targeting him and other GOP leaders as insufficiently committed to a hard-right agenda. Others signing on to Wednesday’s push for McConnell’s ouster include Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, and Ken Cuccunelli II, the former attorney general of Virginia and president of the Senate Conservatives Fund.
These groups have had McConnell in their sights before. In 2014, for example, FreedomWorks and allied Tea Party groups supported McConnell’s GOP primary opponent, Matt Bevin, who is now Kentucky’s governor. That same year, Martin created a fundraising site that called on McConnell to step down — and to donate money to her tea party group.
But Wednesday’s push for McConnell’s resignation comes amid an escalating civil war inside the Republican Party, with conservatives increasingly angry at GOP leaders in Congress over their failure deliver on President Trump’s key legislative priorities, such as repealing Obamacare and cracking down on illegal immigration.
“Republicans were given full control of the federal government,” the conservatives wrote in a letter to McConnell. “They – you – have done nothing … You don’t even show up for work.”
A spokesman for McConnell declined to comment on the letter.