Key GOP senators throw support behind McConnell amid Trump feud

Trump: 'Ask me later' if McConnell should step down
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Story highlights

  • Cornyn: "No one is more qualified than Mitch McConnell to lead Senate in that effort"
  • Trump resumed his public feud with McConnell over the GOP's failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act

Washington (CNN)Several key Republican senators are leaping to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's defense as the Kentucky lawmaker's relationship with President Donald Trump continues to deteriorate.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate, voiced support for McConnell on Twitter Friday, saying that "no one is more qualified" than the Senate majority leader to advance the President's legislative agenda.
    "Passing POTUS's legislative agenda requires a team effort. No one is more qualified than Mitch McConnell to lead Senate in that effort," Cornyn tweeted.
    "As Benjamin Franklin said: we can hang together or hang separately," the Texas Republican added in a separate tweet.
    Cornyn's message was shared among several other GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
    "@SenateMajLdr has been the best leader we've had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges. I fully support him," Hatch tweeted.
    Corker, meanwhile, praised McConnell's leadership on key legislative issues such as health care and tax reform.
    "From health care to tax reform to infrastructure, tough issues to tackle this fall and none better than @SenateMajLdr to get a good outcome," Corker said in a tweet.
    Tillis also backed McConnell's accomplishments in a series of tweets Thursday, commending the Senate majority leader for being "the single biggest reason why Neil Gorsuch is now a SCOTUS justice."
    Other Republican senators who have weighed in to support McConnell include Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Todd Young of Indiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also defended McConnell in the Lexington Herald Leader on Friday, telling reporters that there are others to blame for the failed GOP health care plan.
    "If there's blame to go around, people from the states, the senators that promised to vote for it then didn't, that's who I think there needs to be a discussion with," Paul said.
    Despite Sen. Susan Collins' "no" vote on the GOP health care bill championed by McConnell, the Maine Republican expressed "broad support" for the Senate majority leader in the caucus.
    "Majority Leader McConnell understands the Senate is a deliberative & diverse body. He enjoys broad support in our Caucus," Collins tweeted Friday afternoon.
    Even Sen. Jeff Flake, whose recent book slams many of his Republican colleagues' stances on Trump, threw his support behind McConnell.
    ".@SenateMajLdr does a tough job well. He has my support," the Arizona senator tweeted Thursday.
    The Republicans backing McConnell publicly are predominantly his key allies in the Senate, and their defense has been reserved to support for him while stopping short of criticizing the President.
    Trump resumed his public feud with McConnell on Thursday over the failed GOP effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, tweeting at him to "get back to work." When asked by reporters whether the Senate majority leader should resign, Trump said to wait and see if McConnell can get repeal and replace done.
    "Then ask me," he said.