Former President Donald Trump slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday in a lengthy statement, calling the Republican leader a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” and declared that GOP senators who back him “will not win again.”
The letter came in the wake of McConnell’s comments on the Senate floor Sunday evening following Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial. While McConnell voted to acquit Trump – saying a former president could not be impeached in the Senate – the veteran lawmaker did not mince words when assigning blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.
“There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said Saturday, adding: “He didn’t get away with anything yet.”
It was McConnell’s most pointed admonition against Trump to date, having spent the vast majority of Trump’s presidency either explicitly helping him or ducking comments about Trump’s most outrageous assertions — and the rebuke clearly did not sit well with the former president.
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump wrote in a statement released Tuesday. “McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse.”
Trump went on to criticise the former Majority Leader’s failure to support a $2,000 stimulus check late last year, saying the move cost Republicans both Senate seats in Georgia.
At the time, Democrats had proposed a second round of direct-relief payments to most Americans in the form of $2,000, which Trump ultimately supported; Republicans resisted the checks as too costly, and instead proposed a $600 payment.
As Senate candidates for the Jan. 5 runoff elections, Georgia’s Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff made their support for the $2,000 direct payments a central theme of their campaigns, and both went on to win their races. Democrats needed both candidates to win in order to gain a 50-50 split in the Senate, thus giving them the majority.
The relationship between Trump and McConnell was largely built on expedience rather than admiration, and it plummeted after Trump’s denial of his Nov. 3 defeat and relentless efforts to reverse the voters’ verdict with his baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the election.
It withered completely last month, after Republicans lost Senate control with two Georgia runoff defeats they blamed on Trump, and the savage attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. In the aftermath of the riot, McConnell said that the rioters “were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
Trump on Tuesday said he regretted offering his endorsement to McConnell in his Senate race, saying the lawmaker “begged” him to do so.
“Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly,” Trump wrote. “Now, his numbers are lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate, and in so doing, seriously hurting our Country.”
The former president pledged to “back primary rivals” who support his “Make America Great Again” agenda, saying McConnell’s leadership fell far short of expectations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Thank you so much for supporting Jon Ossoff’s Senate campaign.
Thank you so much for supporting Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign.