Former President Donald Trump unleashed on GOP Senate leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in vintage-style Trump, calling the most powerful Republican an “unsmiling political hack and pledged to “back primary rivals” who support his “Make America Great Again” agenda.
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said in a lengthy statement released through his Save America super PAC. “The Democrats and Chuck Schumer play McConnell like a fiddle—they’ve never had it so good—and they want to keep it that way! We know our America First agenda is a winner, not McConnell’s Beltway First agenda or Biden’s America Last.”
“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership,” Trump added.
Trump says that McConnell will cost Republicans the Senate in January, blaming the Minority Leader for costing the GOP the Senate with its losses in Georgia last month, by pushing a too-small offer on direct payments in a coronavirus relief package.
“Then came the Georgia disaster, where we should have won both U.S. Senate seats, but McConnell matched the Democrat offer of $2,000 stimulus checks with $600. How does that work? It became the Democrats’ principal advertisement, and a big winner for them it was,” Trump said. “McConnell then put himself, one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States, into the advertisements.”
He also blamed Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, as well as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the Republican Party “for not doing its job on Election Integrity during the 2020 Presidential race” as the reason for losing the Peach State runoffs.
McConnell, in turn, has faulted the former president for costing him the Majority Leader seat with hurting Republican turnout due to Trump’s focus on trying to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia with his claims that the election was stolen.
The former president attacked McConnell from all different sides, stating his “only regret” was endorsing the Kentucky Senator, and took a swipe at McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao who also was his Transportation Secretary and was the first one to quit following the riot said the Kentucky Senator for has “no credibility on China,” due to family ties in owning a shipping company in China.
“My only regret is that McConnell “begged” for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him. He went from one point down to 20 points up and won. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly,” Trump said. “Likewise, McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings. He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.”
According to a source, Trump’s initial drafts of the statement included an even harsher torrents of insults against McConnell, including a line that mocks his appearance and weight.
Trump closed out his statement by calling it a “big moment for our country” adding, “we cannot let it pass by using third rate ‘leaders’ to dictate our future!”
McConnell wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed article repeating his Saturday Senate floor speech where he slammed Trump’s “unconscionable” behavior during and after the Capitol attack. He also gave an interview Monday with the same outlet where he stated that Trump’s role in the party’s going forward in the 2022 elections “won’t be a constructive part of the process.”
“I don’t rule out the prospect that he may well be supporting good candidates,” McConnell said. “I’m not assuming that, to the extent the former president wants to continue to be involved, he won’t be a constructive part of the process.”
Prior to the Senate Impeachment trial, McConnell in private has said he believes the impeachment proceedings would make it “easier to purge” Trump’s influence and the movement from the Republican Party. McConnell has told a few senator colleagues and other confidants that he does not plan to speak with Trump again following the attacks on the Capitol.
The statement comes after three days the Senate acquitted the former president in his second impeachment trial with the Minority Leader shortly after delivered a blistering condemnation of the former president, saying he is “practically and morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. McConnell in placing the blame on Trump also suggested that further investigations would play out in the judicial system. However, just moments before his remarks, McConnell joined the group of 43 GOP Senators in voting to acquit the former president, saying he believes Trump couldn’t be convicted as a former president.
“Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty. There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell said in a roughly 20-minute speech from the Senate floor. “We have no power to convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen.”
McConnell’s speech drew pushback from those close with the former president. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he expected Democrats would use the comments against vulnerable Republicans in campaign ads come 2022 when the party fights to reclaim the Senate majority.
“He got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday. “That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns.”
“I would imagine if you’re a Republican running in Arizona or Georgia or New Hampshire, where we have a chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Sen. McConnell’s speech and asking you about it as a candidate,” Graham added. “And I imagine if you’re an incumbent Republican there are going to be people asking you if will you support McConnell in the future.”
A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Tuesday said that “a majority of Republican voters, 54 percent said they would support Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary election.”