Johnson: GOP needs to decide how it will replace McConnell

(NewsNation) — Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is part of a growing group of Senate Republicans seen as potential successors to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced he would step down as leader in November.

Johnson joined NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday” with Chris Stirewalt, to discuss what the party must do to find its next leader. He called for a conference to “establish goals and then let’s figure out exactly the process for electing a new leader,” while pointing to the ineffectiveness of the GOP.

“I don’t think people truly understand the profound dysfunction within Congress,” Johnson said. “What Republicans have not done is effectively counter the destruction of the radical left, the destruction of the Democratic Party.”

McConnell, who turned 82 last week, announced his decision Wednesday in the well of the Senate, the chamber where he looked in awe from its back benches in 1985 when he arrived and where he grew increasingly comfortable in the front-row seat afforded the party leaders.

His decision has been seen as punctuating a powerful ideological transition underway in the Republican Party from, Ronald Reagan’s brand of traditional conservatism and strong international alliances to the fiery populism of former President Donald Trump.

McConnell said he plans to serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, “albeit from a different seat in the chamber.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden signed a short-term spending measure that keeps the government funded through March 8 and another set through March 22, staving off a partial government shutdown.

The measure proposes supplemental spending for a potential aid package to Ukraine, which Johnson previously voted against.

“Before we send $60 billion to Ukraine to secure their borders, we ought to secure our own,” Johnson said. “I think that’s what the American people expect. And that’s certainly what people like me have been fighting for. Let’s take care of our own border.”

Besides Johnson, three other potential candidates have emerged: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

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