WASHINGTON (ABC4) — In what may be a retaliatory move by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Mike Lee has been removed from the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, according to The Hill.
Lee’s removal comes on the same day as Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s removal from the same committee. Lee supported Scott’s bid to unseat McConnell as the Senate’s GOP head.
“McConnell got to pick. He kicked me off; he kicked Lee off,” Scott confirmed in an interview.
Scott acknowledged that running against McConnell was the likely reason he was booted from the panel despite his relative seniority on the committee and experience running a major company.
“I probably ran the biggest company almost any senator in the history of the country has ever run. I was governor of the third-biggest economy in the United States, Florida. I’ve got a business background,” Scott said, ticking off his credentials.
Scott and Lee have been replaced by freshman senators, including Sens. Ted Budd (N.C.), Eric Schmitt (Mo.), and J.D. Vance (Ohio). Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson also left the committee to take a seat on the Senate’s Finance Committee.
The move came despite McConnell insisting back in November that he wasn’t mad about Scott’s challenge, which he lost in a 37-10 vote.
“I’m not in any way offended by having an opponent or having a few votes in opposition,” he said after he was reelected following hours of tense discussions within the GOP conference. “I’m pretty proud of 37 to 10.”
Scott noted he found out about his removal by text message.
Read The Hill’s complete coverage online.