Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell will inevitably take a beating from his primary opponent for his vote yesterday for cloture on the debt-ceiling hike. But among many of his Capitol Hill colleagues and peers, he’s seen as a hero.
After the late-afternoon vote, McConnell headed to a meeting with senior adviser Josh Holmes. Then the two went to a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) fundraiser at its offices on Capitol Hill. They arrived late to a room that — surprising to many, given the terrible weather — was packed with dozens of attendees. Sources say about 50 to 100 people were present and tell NRO that when the minority leader entered, he was greeted with an eruption of cheers, and that many attendees stood to applaud him.
Before McConnell entered, several senators had told the crowd that they admired his willingness to take one for the team and make a politically fraught vote. More than half a dozen senators were there, per one attendee, including Johnny Isakson, Roger Wicker, John Barrasso, Jim Risch, and Orrin Hatch. A source says Hatch, Isakson, Risch, and Wicker all made very favorable public comments about McConnell and his decision to vote for cloture. The source adds that Senator Ted Cruz was not in attendance.
A GOP Senate aide tells NRO that there’s “a very broad understanding” among upper-chamber Republicans that McConnell’s “yes” vote was necessary for the good of his colleagues and the Senate Republican conference. Now, that certainly isn’t a consensus among Hill Republicans. But for McConnell’s supporters there, it’s not up for debate.