Nov 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: GOP donors “furious”

Sen. Rick Scott is seen delivering a speech.

Sen. Rick Scott addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 — the day the House passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told his colleagues this week top party donors were "furious" with the number of Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, two sources familiar with his remarks tell Axios' Alayna Treene.

Why it matters: Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which relies on donors to help it elect candidates — and re-elect incumbents. The criticism highlighted how toxic the vote has become for the 19 Senate and 13 House Republicans who joined with Democrats to pass it.

  • McConnell is already being lambasted by former President Trump for his vote.
  • The donors complained to Scott it was foolish for any member of their party to help deliver a win to President Biden.
  • Scott was at a donor retreat this month when the House passed the $1.2 trillion measure, allowing Biden to sign it into law. He relayed the donors' reaction during the Senate Republicans' closed-door conference lunch Tuesday, the sources said.

What we're hearing: Scott delivered the news while giving a presentation regarding the latest internal polling from the NRSC.

  • He added that some donors had also been paying attention to Trump's statements, one of the sources said, which have included the former president calling the Republicans "RINOs" who "should be ashamed of themselves."
  • Scott's remarks landed a bit awkward, the second source told Axios, given many in the room not only voted for the infrastructure package but helped craft it.
  • The day before the lunch, eight Republicans also attended the White House signing ceremony for the bill on the South Lawn.
  • They included Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), as well as Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).

What they aren't saying: During a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Thursday, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman for the Republican National Committee, refused to answer Axios' questions about the bill.

  • She also wouldn't say if it was a mistake for the 32 Republicans to vote for it.
  • McDaniel refused to even say the word "infrastructure," and instead tried to drive the conversation toward Biden's separate, more progressive $1.75 trillion Build Back Better package.
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