As the shutdown drags on, Republicans are turning on one another — and Mitch McConnell is getting an earful.
Thursday was not a good day for party unity in the GOP. During a closed-door luncheon, senators went after Mike Pence and fought with each other as each of them tries to escape their responsibility for the longest government shutdown ever.
It isn't apparent why Pence was at the lunch, as his only message seemed to be "the president is interested in striking a deal." Striking a deal, though, doesn't involve compromise, apparently: Pence also begged the senators to hang together and not vote for a Democratic proposal to reopen the government.
The senators, however, are most definitely not staying unified.
Some senators told Pence there should have never been a shutdown. One of those senators appears to be Mitch McConnell (R-KY). According to the Washington Post, McConnell said that the shutdown isn't working, and he never wanted a shutdown in the first place. McConnell being McConnell, he even deployed a folksy saying to show that he doesn't like shutdowns: "There is no education in the second kick of a mule."
McConnell also got in a spat with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) after Johnson told him "This is your fault." Johnson was referring to the complete fiasco of Thursday, when both the Democrats and the Republicans advanced bills that failed to proceed.
Worse still for them, the Democrats' bill got more votes than the GOP version, thanks to six GOP senators crossing the aisle. That didn't seem to register with Trump, who bragged about "winning" a 50-47 vote on the GOP bill in the Senate, a place where 60 votes are required.
The GOP is cracking under the pressure of backing Trump's ridiculous — and incredibly unpopular — demand for the wall. Their constituents are yelling at them. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) complained about "a parade of horribles of how people who are having to cope with not getting paid, and it's not good."
It's becoming clear that there's no good path out of this for the GOP. A majority of Americans blame them, blame Trump, and think Pelosi is doing a much better job negotiating. So-called moderate GOP senators like Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are demanding the shutdown end as soon as possible and crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats.
As the caucus continues to shudder and crack, you can expect more Republican intra-party brawling as this shutdown drags on.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.