Although President Trump still has plenty of support within the Republican party, the GOP’s edges are starting to fray. Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake have both scrapped reelection bids while criticizing Trump and the party that backs him. And Steve Bannon’s ouster, after months of White House infighting, has somehow resulted in more connections than ever. That has Mitch McConnell very, very worried. So the super PAC closest to him is going on the offensive.
The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) has allied itself with the Senate Majority Leader and is already working to portray Steve Bannon as a fame-hungry white supremacist who did more harm than good in on Capitol Hill. They’re pushing back against the series of meetings Bannon has held since he left the chief strategist role, meetings in which Bannon has been recommending that McConnell be replaced as majority leader. Bannon’s also been angling to get more far-right and fringe candidates into Congress.
With Flake out of the running, interest in his seat is already heating up ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Bannon is pushing for Kelli Ward, a conspiracy theorist with a chemtrail interest, to run. But she’s also been a steady Trump supporter, and POTUS backed her against Flake in August. SLF wants to keep the emphasis not on her ties with Trump, but on how her supposed tin foil hat and association with Bannon should disqualify her in favor of a more traditional GOP candidate.
The SLF has also emphasized the missteps of Bannon-backed Judge Roy Moore who beat out McConnell’s pick Sen. Luther Strange for the Republican ticket in Alabama’s September special election. Moore is now up against Democrat Doug Jones as the SLF drags Moore candidate for being underinformed about DACA. The super PAC has also knocked Moore for not being loyal enough to Trump.
However and as a former McConnell chief of staff, Josh Holmes, told the Washington Post, Bannon is operating primarily for his own agenda:
“This is a guy who is more interested in seeing his name in the headlines than he is in any kind of accomplishment for the president. It comes at great cost to the president’s term, the Republican Party and any hope they can have at working as a team.”
But then again, Bannon has never been much interested in team work. Not when he’s trying to overhaul the GOP and yank it further right. By getting the SLF to play ball, he’s gotten them to admit that he’s not down and out. He actually could have a winning play.
(Via Washington Post)