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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Trump blasts McConnell over debt ‘lifeline,’ says Senate GOP needs new leader

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Former President Donald Trump called for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ouster after 11 Senate Republicans voted to help Democrats increase the debt ceiling Thursday night.

“The Republican Senate needs new leadership,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

The Republican votes gave Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, enough votes to overcome a filibuster on the measure to raise the debt ceiling by $430 billion to avoid a default until at least Dec. 3.

Though 11 Republicans came on board with the vote, Mr. Trump, who still wields significant sway in the Republican Party, placed the blame on Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican. He said he had mixed views on the 11 Republicans who voted to proceed with the plan.

Mitch is not the guy, not the right guy, he‘s not doing the job,” Mr. Trump said. “He gave [Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and his Democrats] a lifeline – it’s more than a lifeline, he gave them so much time to figure out what to do because they were in a big bind; they were unable to do anything.”

Mr. Trump said of the Kentucky Republican, “He had the weapon, and he was unable to use it. It’s a shame. He made a big mistake.”

Thursday’s vote in the Senate ended a long standoff between the two parties over raising the debt ceiling, bringing the U.S. to the brink of a mid-October default. Republicans blocked a measure that would have suspended the debt limit that was tied to a bill to extend government funding to avoid a shutdown. 

Mr. McConnell said Democrats would have to raise the debt limit without Republican support as the Democrats push for trillions in new spending under President Biden. But he backed down after Democrats threatened to eliminate the filibuster temporarily to pass the measure.

By Thursday, the two parties agreed to avoid a default with Republicans providing enough votes to avoid a filibuster on a temporary measure raising the debt ceiling through early December.

Several Senate Republicans were unhappy with the move.

“This is a complete capitulation,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

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