McConnell Mocks 'Political Genius' Bannon Over Moore Defeat: He Threw Away a Seat in 'The Reddest State in America'

December 22, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on Friday took a shot at former White House strategist Steve Bannon's backing of Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, saying he threw away a seat in America's reddest state.

Democrat Doug Jones defeated Moore, who several women accused of sexual misconduct against them when they were teenagers, on Dec. 12 to become the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate seat since 1992.

"Do you blame Steve Bannon for Doug Jones being elected in Alabama?" a reporter asked.

"Well, let me just say this," McConnell said after pausing to chuckle. "The political genius on display, throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America, is hard to ignore."

Bannon has made McConnell his chief target, recently telling Vanity Fair that "the GOP establishment, as personified by Mitch McConnell, has not done a good job supporting the president's agenda." Bannon also declared a war on the Republican establishment in the form of trying to primary incumbent GOP senators before the 2018 midterms.

McConnell's preferred candidate, incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R., Ala.), lost a primary fight to Moore, a far-right firebrand known for inflammatory statements and getting booted twice off the Alabama Supreme Court. McConnell successfully pushed conservative Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) out of the primary race, but Moore then defeated Strange in the one-on-one fight.