Payback? Mitch McConnell Ousts Rick Scott from the Senate Commerce Committee
The Senate GOP is in civil war after Mitch McConnell ousted Senator Rick Scott from the Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Scott has recently set himself apart as one of McConnell’s fiercest critics, having unsuccessfully challenged the majority leader for his role last November. Now, the Kentucky Republican seems to be getting payback.
The Senate GOP is currently restructuring to account for their midterm losses. Senator Mike Lee, a Scott ally, was also booted from the Commerce Committee. Scott accused McConnell of playing for revenge, pointing out his total control over committee assignments to Fox News Digital: “What they told me today at lunch is the way the rules work, McConnell gets to pick. So guess who [were] kicked off? Mike Lee and me.”
Lee strongly supported Scott’s campaign to take down the 16-year incumbent floor leader. The two were highly critical of McConnell in the wake of 2022’s midterm failures. Lee was one of 10 republican senators to vote for Scott as conference leader, as opposed to McConnell’s insurmountable 37.”
“I’m not in any way offended by having an opponent or having a few votes in opposition,” McConnell said at the time. “I’m pretty proud of 37 to 10.”
While the Minority Leader has insisted he does not hold a grudge, retaliation would not be entirely without cause. Since Scott’s November challenge, the Florida Senator has continued to voice his opposition to McConnell and even invested in a seven-figure January ad campaign calling for new Republican leadership.
Still, Scott says he is “not going to back down.”
“We have to stop giving in to the Democrats.”
Scott also defended his qualifications for the Commerce Committee,
“I probably ran the biggest company almost any senator in the history of the country has ever run. I was governor of the third-biggest economy in the United States, Florida. I’ve got a business background.”
Before McConnell’s decision, which Scott said he learned about through a text, the Florida Senator served on five different committees. He has also served on the Budget Committee, Homeland Security Committee, Armed Services Committee, and the Committee on Aging. Scott was the ranking member of the Commerce subcommittee on Tourism.
According to reporting by The Hill, McConnell is planning to appoint freshmen Senators Ted Budd, R-NC, Eric Schmitt, R-MO, and J.D. Vance, R-OH, to the Commerce Committee in place of its former members. An unusual decision, given Scott’s credentials.
The decision to remove Scott and Lee from their assignments sends a message that opposing GOP leadership does not come without cost.
“People told me not to run for Republican Leader against Mitch McConnell. They said I wouldn’t win. I knew it was going to be hard. But we’ve got to start somewhere,” Scott said during his January ad campaign.
“We are on the road to woke socialism, and Republicans are just a speed bump… We can’t keep doing the same old thing. It’s time for Republicans to be bold, speak the truth, and stop caving in.”
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