Ted Cruz fired the first salvo, lashing out at Boehner and accusing him of betraying the Republican Party. According to conservative website The Blaze, Cruz told reporters at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington that he had heard rumors that Boehner had cut a deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to help advance President Obama’s agenda.
Since then, Tea Party Republicans and other more conservative members of the party seem to be targeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for removal.
The conservative website Breitbart and The Washington Times reported over the weekend that Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere called for McConnell’s resignation and, as The Washington Times reported:
Mr. Villere isn’t just any Republican. He’s the longest-serving state GOP chairman in the nation, with 12 years on the job, and is the vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, the GOP’s national governing body. He also serves on the RNC’s executive committee that makes decisions alongside Chairman Reince Priebus.
Talking Points Memo reports that “Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) — a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, which was threatening a coup against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) — said Friday that now that Boehner has announced his resignation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is probably ‘the next guy in the crosshairs.'”
“Mitch McConnell is infinitely worse as a leader than Boehner,” Salmon told reporters Friday. “He surrenders at the sight of battle every time.”
Reuters reports that Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said the Boehner’s decision to retire “should be an absolute warning sign to McConnell.” Speaking to a group of reporters outside the House after Boehner’s Friday announcement, Mulvaney stated:
If anyone was doubtful as to whether or not there was a group of members who were really angry and frustrated and disappointed in how things were going, that was put to rest. … This anger and frustration with how our party’s being run is real and now it’s very, very tangible.
Asked if Boehner’s departure had been necessary, he added: “You absolutely have to bring the Senate into the discussion. … That focus now will invariably, and should turn to Mitch McConnell in the Senate.”
Breitbart reports that Louisiana Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal told receptive attendees at the conservative Values Voter Summit on Friday: “Here’s what I say in response to Speaker Boehner stepping down: Mitch McConnell, it is now your turn.”
Perhaps more telling is a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing that “a whopping 72 percent of Republican primary voters said they were dissatisfied” with Boehner’s and McConnell’s performance and 36 percent want both of them to be removed from their leadership positions immediately.
According to the poll, 28 percent of GOP primary voters said they were “somewhat dissatisfied” with Boehner’s and McConnell’s ability to achieve Republican goals and priorities, while 44 percent said they were “very dissatisfied.”