“Mitch is an austere, brooding, smileless political hacker, and if Republican senators want to stick with him, they won’t win anymore,” Trump said in the statement. “He will never do what needs to be done or what is right for our country. When necessary and appropriate, I will support the main rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our America First policy. We want to be brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership. “
Trump’s call for compassionate leadership came in a small statement full of ad hominem attacks, including a blow to the McConnell family, and after years of some of the most vitriolic political leadership in American history. The former president regularly insulted his detractors and political opponents, as well as members of the military, his own health experts and fellow Republicans whom he did not find sufficiently loyal.
Despite the shot at McConnell’s family and the insulting characterization of his personality, Trump wanted to launch more severe personal attacks on McConnell, according to a source close to Trump’s wishes. Trump adviser Jason Miller said that an “earlier version (of) was probably harsher. However, it was never considered to launch a personal attack ”.
Trump claimed Tuesday that McConnell’s shortcomings contributed to the party’s loss of the Senate majority and hinted at his baseless allegations of voter fraud.
“This is a great moment for our country, and we cannot let it go by using third-rate ‘leaders’ to dictate our future!” Trump said.
Trump’s attacks follow his impeachment with a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives last month for his role in inciting the violent January 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in the deaths of at least five people , including a Capitol police officer. The former president and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani are accused of conspiring with far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to incite insurgency in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday by the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mississippi. Democrat Bennie Thompson, as an individual.
The clash between current and former GOP leaders comes as the Republican Party as a whole grapples with warring factions at odds over whether to continue to look like Trump or chart a course deviating from it. legacy of the former president.
Longtime Trump-loyal Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News Tuesday that while the two men together “did a hell of a job, they’re now at each other’s throats. I’m more worried about each other. 2022 than ever. Been. I don’t want to eat ours. “
“What I would say to Senator McConnell: I know Trump can be a handful, but he is the most dominant figure in the Republican Party,” continued the South Carolina Republican. “We don’t have a snowball chance in hell of taking back majority without Donald Trump. If you don’t understand that, you just aren’t looking.”
McConnell has repeatedly berated Trump’s incitement to the Jan.6 insurgency on the U.S. Capitol, despite voting to acquit the former president of the charge. In remarks on the Senate floor shortly after Trump was cleared in a 57-43 vote, McConnell suggested the former president could face criminal charges. “There is no doubt that former President Trump bears moral responsibility,” McConnell wrote in an op on Monday. -ed in the Wall Street Journal about the riot. “His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the deranged lies he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone. His behavior during and after the chaos was also unacceptable, ranging from attacking Vice President Mike Pence for riot to praise the criminals after the end. “
CNN reported last month that McConnell had indicated that he believed the impeachment of Trump would make it easier to get rid of the former president and Trumpism from the Republican Party, according to a source familiar with the matter.
In the final weeks of Trump’s presidency, the relationship between the then Senate majority leader and Trump – the two most powerful men in the Republican Party – had essentially collapsed, multiple sources told CNN .
Trump’s statement on Tuesday adds McConnell to the list of Republicans the former president is targeting after opposing him.
CNN reported last month that Trump is focusing his political energy on Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third House Republican, who voted for her impeachment last month. Trump’s push comes as Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, works to solidify his relationship with the former president, including meeting with Trump at his resort town in Palm Beach, Mar- a-Lago, in January. McCarthy and Trump discussed the midterm elections in 2022, according to a reading provided by his Save America PAC.
This story has been updated with additional reports.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Jim Acosta, and Mary Kay Mallonee contributed to this report.
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