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President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon gave an ominous warning to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell amid reports Bannon is pushing far-right candidates to challenge GOP incumbents for office next year.
“McConnell and the GOP Establishment have sown the wind – now be prepared the reap the whirlwind,” Bannon told Axios on Tuesday.
Since leaving the White House in August, Bannon has taken aim at McConnell and other Republican leaders who have been reluctant to defend Trump’s agenda. In September, Bannon endorsed hardline conservative Roy Moore for a special Senate election in Alabama, putting him at odds with Trump and the White House’s more establishment-friendly pick Luther Strange, who ended up losing the Republican primary to Moore.
Bannon is also rumored to be considering throwing his weight behind primary challengers in Wyoming and Mississippi for next year’s midterm elections.
On Monday, McConnell dismissed Bannon’s efforts to unseat Republicans, noting the lack of success by some far-right candidates over the years.
“My goal as the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate is to keep us in the majority,” McConnell told reporters at the White House. “The way you do that is not complicated – you have to nominate people who can actually win because winners make policy and losers go home.”
But Trump, who has at times lashed out at the Republican congressional majority for failing to pass major legislative items like a White House-backed healthcare reform bill, seemed to sympathize with Bannon on Monday.
“I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from,” Trump said. “There are some Republicans, frankly, that should be ashamed of themselves. They really, really disappointed us.”