Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “lit into” Midland University President and Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse in a private sit-down meeting for associating himself with the Senate Conservatives Fund, according to a report in National Review on Monday.
Sasse, who is running in the Republican primary for Senate, sat down with McConnell on November 12 to try and extinguish some tension between the two over his association with SCF and also a YouTube video Sasse posted in which he said that called for “every Republican in Washington, starting with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to show some actual leadership.” SCF has endorsed Sasse in the Republican primary for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’s (R-NE) Senate seat.
But instead of burying the hatchet, McConnell, according to National Review criticized Sasse both for his ties to SCF and the YouTube video. McConnell also asked Sasse about when he first started talking to SCF executive director Matt Hoskins.
Josh Holmes, a top political aide to McConnell told friends that the exchange was highly uncomfortable, even compared to other similar sit-downs McConnell had had.
“Voters in Nebraska want a senator who will stand up to the big spenders in both parties,” Hoskins said in an email to TPM on Monday in response to the National Review story. “The fact that Mitch McConnell opposes Ben Sasse in the primary is further proof that Ben Sasse is the best candidate. He won’t be a rubber stamp for the Washington establishment.”
McConnell campaign spokesman Allison Moore refused to comment on the meeting.
“We don’t discuss private meetings,” Moore told TPM.
This post was updated.