Conservative groups demand McConnell step down as Senate GOP leader

The leaders of several conservative groups called Wednesday for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to step down as leader, arguing the Kentucky Republican and the rest of his team should be ousted from their posts because they have not implemented the conservative agenda they promised. 

“We call on all five members of the GOP Senate leadership to step down, or for their caucus to remove them as soon as possible,” Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia who now leads the Senate Conservatives Fund, said at a Wednesday press conference on Capitol Hill.

All the leaders come from anti-Republican establishment organizations with ties to the Tea Party movement. They have long been thorns in McConnell’s side and have backed conservative challengers to Republican incumbents in Senate races. They include representatives from FreedomWorks, the Tea Party Patriots and For America.

“If this was a football team, and you’d lost this many times, you’d start seriously considering firing the coaches,” said David Bozell, the president of For America.

They distributed a letter sent to McConnell, where they outlined their criticism of the GOP leadership. Some of the groups have called for McConnell’s ouster before.

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The leaders of conservative groups on Wednesday called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to step down as leader. Pictured from left to right: David Bozell, Adam Brandon, Jenny Beth Martin, Ken Cuccinelli and Brent Bozell.  (Alex Pappas/Fox News)

“You and the rest of your leadership team were given the majority because you pledged to stop the steady flow of illegal immigration,” the letter states. “You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce the size of this oppressive federal government. You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the out-of-control deficit spending that is bankrupting America. You have done nothing. You promised to repeal Obamacare, ‘root and branch.’ You have done nothing. You promised tax reform. You have done nothing.”

The leaders said they aren’t backing specific lawmakers to replace McConnell and his deputies. But they offered praise to several current senators.

“If I had to pick someone, I’d love to draft like Pat Toomey maybe,” FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said of the Pennsylvania senator. “There’s a lot of different people out there who I think could unite this caucus and actually lead on some issues.”

Asked about Georgia Sen. David Perdue, Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots suggested she could support him as leader. “I’m from Georgia, so I’m not opposed to him,” Martin said, praising his background as a CEO before being elected to the Senate.

“Who would I select?” said Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. “I’m not going to name a name. But I’ll tell you. It’s on one hand those that I feel comfortable with who are real conservative leaders today.”

‘If this was a football team, and you’d lost this many times, you’d start seriously considering firing the coaches.’

– David Bozell, president of For America

The groups also expressed frustration with McConnell’s endorsement and support for incumbent Alabama Sen. Luther Strange in the state’s recent Republican primary. They supported Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice, who defeated Strange in last month’s run-off.

A spokesman for McConnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

McConnell was first elected to the Senate in Kentucky in 1984. Rising through the Republican leadership, McConnell became Senate majority leader after Republicans won control of the chamber in 2014.