Sens. Rick Scott and Mike Lee booted from committee after challenging Mitch McConnell

 February 6, 2023

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott made headlines late last year when he challenged Mitch McConnell for the position of Senate minority leader. It's a move that McConnell apparently hasn't forgotten.

According to Fox News, Scott and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee were both booted off the Senate Commerce Committee last week in what the pair say is an act of retaliation. 

"Mitch happens"

"I represent the third-biggest state in the country," Scott was quoted as saying in an interview with Fox News last Wednesday.

"What they told me today at lunch is the way the rules work, McConnell gets to pick. So guess who [were] kicked off? Mike Lee and me," Scott continued. The senator said "McConnell made that decision" because Scott "ran against him" and is now taking reprisals.

For his part, Lee tweeted out a link to an article by The Hill covering his and Scott's ouster along with a caption that read, "Mitch happens."

Scott called on GOP "to be far more bold and resolute"

Lee followed that up with another tweet which read, "He (McConnell) has unreviewable discretion to make certain committee assignments. This was one of those."

Fox News reported in November that Scott sent a letter out to his GOP colleagues in which he laid out his vision for Senate Republicans.

"I’m writing to you today because I believe it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be far more bold and resolute than we have been in the past," the network quoted Scott as writing.

"We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against," Scott insisted. "I do not believe we can simply continue to say the Democrats are radical, which they are. Republican voters expect and deserve to know our plan to promote and advance conservative values."

McConnell slammed for decisions made during campaign

Scott's leadership run came as many in his party expressed frustration over the results of last year's midterm elections.

Whereas many observers had predicted a red wave, Republicans only managed to secure a narrow majority in the House of Representatives while losing in the Senate.

McConnell was criticized for decisions he made during the campaign, including having a PAC spend millions of dollars to help moderate Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski fend off a challenge from the more conservative Kelly Tshibaka.

As Fox News noted, Tshibaka later complained that those funds "would have been better spent in other states to elect more Republicans that would have secured a majority in the Senate."

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