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Laura Cooper Deposition
Rep. Mo Brooks speaks to reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center on Oct. 23, 2019.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, file

Key GOP Senate hopeful in Alabama says he won’t back McConnell

Mo Brooks knows that Donald Trump has contempt for Mitch McConnell. It’s a dynamic the Alabaman appears eager to exploit in his primary race.


When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently denounced Sen. Rick Scott’s proposed tax increases, the Kentucky Republican said the public shouldn’t worry too much about his fellow Republican’s plan.

“If we’re fortunate enough to have the [Senate] majority next year,” McConnell told reporters, “I’ll be the majority leader.”

At least, that’s the plan. While it’s likely that the current minority leader will have ample support from his own conference, there are some Republicans pushing in the opposite direction. In Missouri, for example, former Gov. Eric Greitens, a 2022 Senate hopeful, has vowed not to support McConnell if elected. Alaska’s Kelly Tshibaka said the same thing.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested a couple of months ago that if McConnell intends to be majority leader, he’ll have to do more to align himself with Donald Trump.

It was against this backdrop that Rep. Mo Brooks — for now, the Trump-backed Senate candidate in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary — released a new online video this morning, assuring voters that, if elected, he also won’t support McConnell for the top GOP leadership post:

“If elected to the Senate, I will not vote for Mitch McConnell for majority leader, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that Republicans choose a conservative to be leader. America can’t afford a Senate leader who is a weak-kneed, debt junkie, open-border RINO Republican and who, worse yet, sells out America for special-interest-group cash.”

If this sounds at all familiar, when Brooks ran in a Senate special election in 2017, he made “Ditch Mitch“ a key part of his platform. (He finished third in the GOP primary, winning just two of the state’s 67 counties.)

Five years later, the congressman is trying it again.

In all likelihood, McConnell isn’t too nervous about any of this, in large part because most of the candidates vowing to oppose him aren’t expected to win.

More notable is Brooks’ motivation for releasing such a video in the first place: The Alabaman has Trump’s backing, but he might not be able to keep it: The former president has said publicly he’s prepared to abandon Brooks and go with a more competitive GOP contender.

A Politico report added this morning, “During a closed-door fundraiser ... at his Mar-a-Lago estate last week, Trump said Brooks ‘decided to go woke’ — a reference to Brooks breaking with Trump by saying that the results of the 2020 election can’t be overturned — and that he was doing ‘terrible’ in the primary, according to an attendee.”

It’s probably not a coincidence that Brooks, desperate to stay in the former president’s good graces, is touting his opposition to McConnell, knowing that Trump has contempt for the Kentucky Republican.