Bannon praises Flake opponent, slams Senate leader McConnell
SCOTTSDALE (AP) –Steve Bannon leveled a blistering attack on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans at an Arizona fundraiser for a GOP primary challenger to incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake.
The former chief strategist to President Donald Trump heaped disdain on McConnell and other incumbent Republicans, saying they are failing the country by not backing Trump's agenda and are openly critical of their own president.
Bannon said McConnell and Republicans such as Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Arizona Sen. John McCain "are trying to destroy him every day" and fueling the populist revolt Bannon is pushing. His comments came at a Tuesday night campaign kickoff fundraiser for Flake challenger Kelli Ward in Scottsdale, Arizona, headlined by Bannon and talk show host Laura Ingraham.
"It's an open revolt and it should be. These people hold you in total contempt," Bannon said of establishment Republicans. "When they attack a Donald Trump and Dr. Kelli Ward, it's not Donald Trump and Kelli Ward they're trying to shut up, it's you they're trying to shut up."
Bannon is promoting a field of primary challengers to take on incumbent Republicans in Congress, especially the Senate. He has said he plans to recruit challengers for every GOP senator up for re-election next year, except Ted Cruz of Texas.
Bannon wasn't following the game plan Trump seemed to advocate on Monday, when he said during an appearance with McConnell that he would try to discourage Bannon from going after all Republican senators and praised McConnell.
"Some of the people that he may be looking at, I'm going to see if we talk him out of that, because frankly, they're great people," Trump said during a joint news conference with McConnell.
Flake isn't letting on that he's overly worried about his re-election chances.