Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) issued a strongly-worded warning against any member of his party that is considering launching a primary campaign against sitting President Donald Trump.
Attempts at waging a primary campaign against the president would be an uphill climb, the senator implied in an interview with the Associated Press. It would be “very, very difficult to unseat the president in the primary,” McConnell said.
The top-ranking Republican senator also expressed his opinion that any intra-party campaign against Trump would be a futile effort. Doing so “would be a waste of time frankly,” he said. “But the people who would be likely to challenge the president would not be coming to me for advice.”
McConnell’s words come just a day after United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announced she would be resigning from her position in the White House. Her departure led many to re-ask the question on whether she was the mysterious New York Times op-ed writer, as previous reporting from the Inquisitr noted on Tuesday.
Haley has frequently been touted as a possible contender to run for president herself, and some have speculated she could run a successful campaign against Trump for the Republican Party’s nomination in 2020.
“I think if she ran in 2020 she would have a very good chance of being the first woman president of the United States,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said earlier this year, according to reporting from the Charleston Post and Courier.
Ambassador @nikkihaley has proved to be a skillful advocate for our national interest and a forceful spokeswoman for our principles. I hope this is not the end of her distinguished career in public service. pic.twitter.com/hxDiMOUjQC
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 9, 2018
Another Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, is also rumored to be considering a run for higher office. Flake is retiring at the end of his term this year, which would set up a perfect opportunity for him to begin a campaign against Trump a few months later.
But recent comments by Flake have indicated he doesn’t believe he’ll mount such a challenge, though he does hope one materializes.
“I do hope that somebody else runs in the Republican primary,” he said, according to reporting from CNBC. He added, however, that he doesn’t think he will run himself, saying, “I don’t see that happening in my case.”
Haley, too, brushed aside questions about her possibly running in 2020 when she announced her impending resignation.
“No, I am not running in 2020,” she said, adding she looked forward to campaigning for Trump’s re-election in that year, The Hill reported.
Of course, two years is a lifetime in politics, and things could change from now until then. At least for now, two prominent possibilities that could have considered a run for president against Trump (and as Republicans) have said they won’t be doing so, possibly because they agree with McConnell that it would be a nearly impossible feat to accomplish. Indeed, it’s only happened once in history, as NPR reported in 2009, to President Franklin Pierce, who did not secure the Democratic Party’s nomination in 1856.