Senate Republican advises Trump to stay out of race to succeed McConnell

Senate Republican advises Trump to stay out of race to succeed McConnell

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) advised former President Trump to stay out of the leadership race to succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

McConnell announced last week that he would be stepping down from his role leading Senate Republicans in November — a move that surprised many members of his own party. Now, Senate Republicans are discussing whom they should put forward as their next leader as three potential candidates have emerged: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

Mullin, a member of Thune’s whip team, already expressed support for the South Dakota Republican. When asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he was worried Trump would try to torpedo Thune’s bid, Mullin said he was not sure but urged him to stay out of the race.

“I don’t know. President Trump and I had a really good conversation last week. My advice to President Trump — which you know, President Trump’s his own man, he’s going to make it his decision, and he does a good job in that — is to kind of stay out of the race, because it’s a lose-lose situation,” he said.

“He needs to work … with whatever leader is there, and let me tell you, whatever leader’s there understands that they’re gonna have to work with President Trump, too. So it’s really not in his best interest to lean in the race at this point. However, if he chooses to do it, it will make a difference,” he said.

Thune has been critical of Trump in the past but endorsed him for the presidency last week before McConnell’s announcement. Trump said after the news broke that there were “a lot of good choices” to replace McConnell.

Mullin reiterated his support for Thune in his interview Sunday.

“I’ve seen his leadership skills move around even when Mitch was unable to be at the Capitol because of some illnesses. I saw him step up in a very effective manner. And what I look for in any position that needs to be in leadership … is someone that can lead in very dangerous and critical times, and that’s what I saw John Thune do,” he added.

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