It’s no secret Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn’t the most popular Republican in Congress, but that unpopularity was put on a national stage Tuesday when three Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate refused to support him during a live debate.
On Tuesday, Fox News hosted a GOP primary debate between three candidates — Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and businessman Don Blankenship — who are competing for the seat that is currently held by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
During the debate, moderator Bret Baier asked the candidates if they would support McConnell for leader of the Republican caucus in the Senate should they win election in November.
All three candidates refused to raise their hands, and Blankenship even ducked behind his lectern. The crowd erupted in applause at the candidates' reactions.
Jenkins explained that McConnell hasn't asked for his support, clarifying that he will determine whether he would support McConnell after the election should he win. Still, he said he will only support a senator for GOP leader if they back President Donald Trump's agenda.
However, it wouldn't be a debate without some jabs. Morrisey, who is seen as conservative candidate in the race, took a shot at Jenkins after his explanation.
"I'm not the product of the liberal establishment," Morrisey said, noting that Jenkins previously supported Manchin and voted for Obamacare. Jenkins was a Democrat for 20 years before becoming a Republican in 2013.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 1, 2018
Is McConnell really that unpopular?
Though the Republican leader earned countless brownie points in 2016 for holding up then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland, which eventually made way for Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch, McConnell does not enjoy widespread support.
In fact, according to Morning Consult's latest poll of the most popular and unpopular senators, McConnell topped the list of unpopular Senate lawmakers.