Tags: Donald Trump | Steve Bannon | Trump Administration | senate | republicans | mitch mcconnell | 2018

Trump for or Against Bannon's War on Senate GOP?


Monday, 16 October 2017 08:14 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Moments after President Donald Trump concluded his impromptu, 45-minute news conference Monday afternoon in the Rose Garden, White House reporters remained confused over just where he stands in the proverbial fight for the soul of the Republican Party in the 2018 elections.

Does he stand — as he did in the Rose Garden — with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.? McConnell made clear in a reply to a question he does not want his party to nominate controversial conservatives such as they did in 2010 with Christine O'Donnell, R-Del., and Sharron Angle, R-Nev., or Todd Akin, R-Mo., in 2012?

"They all lost," said McConnell, emphasizing he likes and supports Republicans who can win and maintain their majority in the Senate.

This was inarguably a slap at former Trump White House counselor Steve Bannon, who is vigorously endorsing (and in some cases recruiting) insurgent conservatives to oppose several Republican senators up for election in '18.

In his own reply to the question of Bannon's call for "war" against Senate Republicans, Trump appeared to side with McConnell.

"Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing," the president said. "Some of the people that he he may be looking at [targeting for a challenge], I'm going to see if we talk him out of that because, quite frankly, they're great people."

But Trump's statement sharply contradicted his response to a reporter's question asked at a Cabinet meeting earlier that day. Trump was asked about Bannon and his attacks on McConnell at the Values Voters Summit over the weekend.

"I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from," replied the president, adding his friend and former counselor was frustrated at the inability of the Republican-controlled Congress to enact anything.

"I know how he feels," he added.

Among the challengers to Republican senators expected to have Bannon's support are Dr. Kelli Ward, who is challenging Arizona's Jeff Flake for renomination next year, and Las Vegas attorney Danny Tarkanian, who is opposing Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Both Flake and Heller were "never Trumpers" in 2016.

In addition, Senate Whip John Barasso, R-Wyo., might face a challenge from conservative multi-millionaire Foster Friess.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Monday's news conference presented a united front for President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., but it begs the question on where the president stands with Steve Bannon's professed "war" on vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2018.
senate, republicans, mitch mcconnell, 2018
Monday, 16 October 2017 08:14 PM
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