Term limits, preventing leader ‘monarchy’ become top concerns in post-McConnell GOP

Setting limits on a leader’s reign and avoiding unilateral decision-making have emerged as chief concerns among Senate Republicans as they prepare to tap a new head in November following Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement of his plan to step down after his term ends in 2025. “We have operated as a monarchy,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said of leadership during his more than 10 years in Congress. Republican senators expressed optimism following a GOP conference meeting on Wednesday regarding their desires for the next era of leadership. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., claimed, “mission accomplished,” following the gathering. GOP SENATOR TO REVEAL FINDINGS AFTER INVESTIGATION INTO TRANSGENDER SPORTS AS BIDEN PUSHES TITLE IX CHANGEJohnson led a letter to GOP Conference Chairman Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., earlier this month requested the meeting to develop goals for the party as it begins to look for a next leader. In an interview after the announcement by McConnell, R-Ky., with Fox News Digital, Johnson noted his frustration with the conference’s lack of collaboration under the current leadership. This concern was echoed by various other party members, including Cruz, Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rick Scott, R-Fla. “I want someone who is going to talk to members. I want somebody who is going to listen to members and not be bubble wrapped and stay in their office,” Hawley told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. Cruz said he hopes to see “a conference that doesn’t just follow the whims of a leader doing whatever he or she wants, but rather that reflects the views of the majority of the conference.”SCHUMER REFUSES NETANYAHU REQUEST TO SPEAK TO DEMOCRATSTerm limits for Republican leaders were touched on during the conversation after Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is running for the head role, threw his support behind “a conference vote to change the rules” to institute them earlier this month. A number of other Republican senators have since expressed support for the idea. According to Hawley, McConnell had “a few things to say” during the meeting. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., noted that the minority leader reiterated to conference members his opinion on term limits for the position. McConnell notably came out against Cornyn’s proposal prior to the discussion, telling reporters, “Well, we have term limits now. They’re called elections.” “I had a contest myself during my last election as leader,” he said, in reference to a challenge by Scott in 2022. McConnell’s office pointed to those remarks when reached by Fox News Digital but declined to comment further.While McConnell has served as party leader since being first elected to the post in 2007, elections for it have been held for each new Congress every two years. While these concerns were aired at the meeting, the conversation was ultimately cordial and constructive, according to senators who attended. SENATE DEMOCRATS COULD SPOIL BIDEN’S MUSLIM JUDICIAL NOMINEE OVER ‘DEEPLY CONCERNING’ TIESThere was no headbutting between conference members, multiple Republicans claimed. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., joked it was “a little disappointing, actually.” Scott, who has not been shy about his criticisms of McConnell and the leadership apparatus, agreed that the conversation was good. “I think there’s agreement that we need to figure out how to work together,” he said. Scott has expressed his interest in a potential run for leader but hasn’t made anything official. The two candidates already in the running are Cornyn and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. Both men took backseat roles during the meeting, per senators inside. Thune’s office shared, prior to the meeting, that the conversation was going to be a listening session for him. Numerous Republican senators indicated their belief that such meetings would be taking place much more often as they head into a new Congress after November. “I think it was the beginning of what I think is going to be a pretty regular conversation between now and November,” said Rubio.BIPARTISAN SENATORS SHARE TIKTOK CONCERN FOLLOWING ‘POWERFUL’ NATIONAL SECURITY BRIEFINGCruz and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., echoed this feeling. “All along you could have done it with just five senators,” the latter told Fox News Digital about requesting the meeting. “I didn’t know that. No one ever told us.”According to Cruz, these meetings didn’t take place before, “because Republican leadership was not interested in the views of the conference.”Candidates didn’t share whether they were coming to decisions on who to support for leader, but Hawley revealed he plans to support Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., for conference chair. He said this is due to Cotton’s support as the Missouri senator worked to pass his legislation to compensate victims of radiation. Hawley even suggested Cotton should switch his bid and run for leader instead. “Maybe Tom ought to run for the leader,” he said, adding, “we need people who actually get it and who are going to listen to members.” The Republican additionally predicted several more Republicans would join the leader race, without suggesting names.  When prompted, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines, R-Mont., reiterated, “I don’t aspire to be the leader,” despite speculation. “I aspire to get the majority back,” he said. In an interesting development, former President Trump, who has demonstrated his wide-ranging influence over the Republican Party both inside and out of Congress, was not mentioned during the meeting, said Hawley. “When I was in there, which was for most of it, I didn’t hear him mentioned one time,” he recalled. 
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