Coburn to McConnell: Senate Republicans Have A ‘Leadership Vacuum’


Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) allegedly told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at a recent closed-door meeting that there is a GOP “leadership vacuum” in the Senate, the Hill reported Thursday.

Coburn called out Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) for their push to defund Obamacare, which he said gave outside groups “ammo” to attack their GOP colleagues, a Republican who attended the meeting told the Hill. 

The Oklahoma senator then told McConnell that he had allowed Cruz’s and Lee’s anti-Obamacare campaign to spin out of control “because there’s a leadership vacuum,” according to the anonymous Republican.

Coburn declined to comment to the Hill on the conversation.


Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at