Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said that young upstarts in the upper chamber need to listen to their leadership more.
Lott told Bloomberg TV on Thursday that he wants “to be careful trying to give the new majority leader Mitch McConnell advice because he’s an experienced hand.”
“He knows what he’s doing. He’s been saying and doing the right things.”
Lott advised McConnell to “co-opt” new senators by bringing them in, meeting and talking with them.
“Try to make sure that they don’t go off advocating some process or some position that is just procedurally not going to happen or politically dynamite without any real good results,” he said. “So I think Senator McConnell has been working for this opportunity for many, many years. I saw him today and he feels good about not only the challenges but the opportunities that he’ll have.”
“But I do get agitated when we have some new people come to Washington and they start trying to dictate what the leadership should do or how they should proceed. I’m not saying they shouldn’t speak up, but when you’ve got a leadership team that you elect, you should listen to them a little bit. We got a lot of potential leaders in Washington. What we need more of is a few more followers that will help actually produce a result.”
Lott said he’s talking about the “hell-no caucus” who are “willing to shut down the government, and that’s just not good sense, I think.”
“I’m a conservative just like they are, but I think that if your only answer is no or let’s don’t do anything, that’s not conservative or liberal. We got a lot of things in this country that need to be dealt with, whether it’s immigration reform or tax policy or energy policy,” he continued.
“And just saying no’s not good enough. We got – we need some action. American people are fed up with gridlock and they want to see the Congress do some things that are important to the people. And if you’ve got sort of a renegade group that’s saying no, we’re not going to do that, we’re not going to do that – look, you have leaders. You have a good leader in Mitch McConnell. You ought to listen to him and be prepared to follow him to get something done for the country.”
Lott was specifically asked if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Dr. Ben Carson are qualified to be president.
“I admire Dr. Ben Carson very much. I don’t suspect that he will be the nominee,” he replied. “I think we’ve got some really possibly outstanding candidates that are governors or former governors. I lean more toward somebody that’s been in elected office, that’s been in a management-type position like governors.”
“Not to say that – I was a senator – that maybe senators shouldn’t be considered. But generally speaking, particularly right now, I think we need an experienced hand that’s actually run something like a state, a big state. And we’ve got some good candidates out there that we should take a look at.”