McConnell mocks ‘genius’ Bannon after Alabama loss

Alan Fram
Associated Press

Washington – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used a holiday season press conference Friday to deliver a lump of coal to Steve Bannon, mocking the former White House adviser’s “political genius” for costing Republicans an Alabama Senate seat.

McConnell, R-Ky., made the remark 10 days after the Bannon-backed Roy Moore lost a special election to Doug Jones, giving Democrats their first victory in an Alabama Senate race in a quarter century.

Moore faced multiple allegations of improper conduct with teenagers decades ago and touted extremist views that repelled many women and minorities.

“The political genius on display, throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America, is hard to ignore,” McConnell told reporters.

Bannon, who was President Donald Trump’s strategist, has returned to the right-wing Breitbart News and has been openly seeking other GOP candidates who like Moore would support toppling McConnell as majority leader.

McConnell backed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican primary.

Though Trump also backed Moore, McConnell said he believes the White House “will be in the same place I am, want to nominate people who can actually win.”

McConnell echoed earlier remarks in which he’s all but ruled out a 2018 effort to overhaul benefit programs like welfare, saying such an effort would need bipartisan support in a Senate that will be divided 51-49 next year.