Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly backing away from his pro-migration border bill amid a mutiny by multiple GOP Senators.

“MCCONNELL told a closed meeting of Senate Republicans Wed[nesday afternoon] that the politics of the border has flipped for R[epublicans]s and cast doubt on linking Ukraine and border,” Punchbowl News reported early Wednesday evening.

The report added:

McConnell referred to [Donald] Trump as “the nominee” and noted the former president wants to run his 2024 campaign centered on immigration. And the GOP leader said, “We don’t want to do anything to undermine him.”

TheHill.com reported:

“I think the border portion is dead,” said one Republican senator, who cited McConnell’s remarks to the GOP conference at the Wednesday meeting.  The lawmaker said that McConnell told GOP senators “this has gotten to be a lot more politically difficult than he thought it would be.”

McConnell’s shift came after a group of seven GOP Senators used a Wednesday press conference to slam his focus on protecting Ukraine’s borders, the counterproductive border deal, and his exclusion of mainstream GOP Senators from the negotiations.

“This bill cannot move if 41 of us say we’re not going to take that” exclusion by McConnell, said Sen. ‘Mike Lee (R-UT). “I’m asking my colleagues to hold 41 [votes” to ensure the deal is blocked, he said.

“The problem is our leader, Leader McConnell, is really the stage manager of this negotiation,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

File/ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a news conference following a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol September 6, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

McConnell’s goal is not to protect Americans’ borders — but to protect Ukraine’s borders, said Sen. Eric Schmidt (R-MO. “That’s really what this is about — people know it,” he said, before suggesting the Senate hold separate votes on Ukraine funding and border reforms.

McConnell’s border bill will be blocked by the House GOP leaders, so Democrats are using the doomed process to blame the GOP for President Joe Biden’s unpopular migration disaster, said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):

For Democrats, the only purpose of taking this up is giving Democrats political cover [in the 2024 campaign] to say ”Gosh, we would have secured the border, but those pesky House Republicans didn’t let us do.

“This bill represents Senate Republican leadership waging war on House Republican leadership,” Cruz added. “It’s not designed to secure the border and it won’t secure the border. And that’s why leadership wants it kept in secret.”

McConnell’s focus on Ukraine excludes GOP senators who are concerned about the border, the Senators said.

“Without consulting the [GOP Senators], took away most of our leverage by saying that we would not even ask to tie Ukraine funding to actually securing the [U.S.] border,” said Johnson.

“We should all have the opportunity to engage” in drafting the bill, said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), adding:

We talked about in [a GOP private] conference. Wwe said we want something that Biden has to do because we know he’s lawless. The only thing we could come up with was to release monthly Ukraine aid if the number of people coming across the border goes down. Leader McConnell said no way.

The draft bill will not stop Biden’s migration, the Senators said.

“What I’m hearing [is that]] this could cause as many problems as it solves, and there’s a risk of creating some much bigger problems that we don’t even have right now,” said Lee.

“This bill normalizes 5000 people a day coming in,” said Cruz. “5,000 people a day is over 1.8 million a year — that’s called an invasion.”

“Why would we set the threshold at 1,000 [migrants a day] rather than 4,000 or 5,000?” said Johnson.

Johnson described how GOP Senators in their weekly meeting asked McConnell’s chief negotiator, Sen. James Lankford ((R-OK) about the draft bill:

When Senator Lankford was asked “What is the goal of this?” The answer wasn’t to secure the border, it was to just [to] “Give the next president the tools he would need … to secure the border.” Well, that wasn’t our expectation. I’m sure that’s not the public’s expectation.

“The great Republican compromise is: ‘We’re for two-thirds of Joe Biden’s open borders, we’ll let in 6 million instead of 9 million,’” scoffed Cruz.

“This [legislation] makes utterly no sense,” said Cruz. “There’s a reason Republican leadership is like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football. Over and over again they run for the football and over and over again, Lucy Schumer pulls it away and Republican leadership lands on their ass.”

Before the GOP Senators’ press conference, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor about the draft legislation for almost eight minutes.

“Since well before Russian troops made their first run toward Kyiv in February of 2022, I’ve been pushing for the decisive capabilities Ukraine needed to defend itself,” he said in the eight-minute speech, which ended with a brief mention of the U.S. border:

The Senate will very soon have a chance to [bolster] sovereignty at the southern border, to invest in our strategic competition with China, and to rebuild our credibility in the eyes of adversaries.

McConnell is hiding the text of the bill to prevent GOP opposition, the GOP Senators said.

“We’ve been told we can’t see the text of this because it’s so complicated because you change one word here and it affects everything else,” said Schmidt. “Yet we’re going to be given a day or two days or … three weeks [time to study the bill — this is nuts.”

Congressional leaders spring short-notice giant bills of Senators to overwhelm opposition, said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), adding:

The last [omnibus bill] was dumped into our lap over a year ago … [with] 4,100 pages at 1:40 am in the morning. We had two days to look through it. We have to have time to sort through this [border bill] too.

Democrats do not want to bargain on the border, the GOP Senators said.

“We don’t share the same goals” with the Democrats, said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS). “Their goal is to get as many people across the border legally. illegally … They don’t care about how they get them across the border.”

“This is a lawless administration that doesn’t care at all about border security,” said Schmidt. “It’s not in their DNA and so some language isn’t going to create some come-to-Jesus moment for Joe Biden. This is who he is. This is what this administration is all about.”

“I actually think Mitch knows exactly what he’s doing — he’s just negotiating for the same objectives that Chuck Schumer has,” said Cruz, adding:

They both want a bill that funds Ukraine and … pretends to do border security but doesn’t actually do border security. They’re negotiating for the identical outcome, and [Sen.] Chuck Schumer’s enemies in Congress are conservatives in the Senate and our House Republican leadership. And sadly, Mitch McConnell’s enemies are conservatives in the Senate and House Republican leadership.

Other GOP Senators are also criticizing McConnell’s direction of the border negotiations.

“Half of my Republican caucus is, as we speak, ready to sell out, and they’re ready to sell out fake border reform in exchange for what they really want, which is to send more of your tax dollars to Ukraine,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Tucker Carlson on January 23.