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Trump rages on GOP leaders even as advisers urge him to focus attacks on Biden

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Former President Donald Trump continues to rage against leading Republicans who have criticized him, despite insistence by some advisers that he should instead target President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders, according to people close to the Democratic Party. folder.

Senator John Thune, the second Republican in the Senate, and longtime GOP political agent Karl Rove are among the targets of Trump’s wrath, the people said.

These people refused to be named to express themselves freely.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller responded to CNBC’s request for comment on this story by sending an email: “Fake news. We are focusing on reclaiming the House and Senate in 2022.”

CNBC had asked which Republicans Trump intended to target in the midterm primaries after the former president said he planned to back several top contenders who back his Make America Great Again agenda.

There are 20 Senate seats currently held by Republicans, including four who are not candidates, to be won in 2022. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the only one of the seven Republicans to vote to condemn Trump in the election. his second indictment. trial to be reelected next year. The whole House is also at stake.

Trump’s anger at Republicans who criticized him was more publicly evident in his statement lambasting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Which Trump called “a stern, brooding and unsmiling political hack. “.

Trump’s remarks came after McConnell, even after voting for the acquittal of the former president in his second impeachment trial, said Trump was responsible for the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill. Trump said in response that he plans to support the contenders for the 2022 midterm election standing by his side.

Advisers have told Trump that many Republican voters, who have been polled by the former president’s strategists, do not want to see all-out war in the GOP. Instead, they would rather see Trump focus his attacks on Biden and the top Democrats.

Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee, told associates he wanted to persuade McConnell to engage with Trump so the two would settle their differences before midterm, according to a GOP adviser. Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., is said to have planned to meet with Trump this weekend at his Mar-a-Lago compound in an attempt to play the role of peacemaker.

Chris Hartline, a spokesperson for the NRSC, told CNBC that Scott was “not involved in mediating anything. He is focused on the future and reclaiming the Senate. He spends every day collecting money. funds and to say how important it is to save this country by stopping the Democrats’ mad rush to socialism and the loss of freedom and prosperity. “

“I don’t know if he spoke to the leader recently, but we are not talking about the private conversations he has had with other senators,” Hartline added.

Representatives for McConnell and Scott did not respond to requests for comment.

Yet Trump’s allies aren’t giving up on the idea that support for his agenda will help Republicans in the primaries.

“When you know you’ve got the muscle of President Trump behind you, and all of the president’s staunch staples, and even as important or more importantly, his America First policies, it’s going to be hard to beat,” Roy Bailey, a man of Texas affairs and former leader of Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, told CNBC.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., A staunch supporter of Trump in Congress, tweeted that Republicans will be rejected by the party base if they do not stick to the former president’s agenda. Gaetz called for the ouster of Republican House leader, Republican Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., After voting to impeach Trump.

Rove has become one of Trump’s top Republican critics, and the former president isn’t happy about that, one person said. Rove, a former senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, recently wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal defending his longtime ally McConnell and holding Trump directly responsible for the party’s losses in the Senate double runoff in Georgia.

“Mr. Trump lost those seats in Georgia by making his election appearances there not on the need for checks and balances on the new Biden administration, but rather on his rage at losing the presidential election,” wrote Rove Wednesday.

Trump is also angry with Thune, who is due for re-election next year, another person said. The South Dakota Republican voted with Trump more than 90 percent of the time, according to data from FiveThirtyEight. But he has also been a vocal critic of Trump regarding the Capitol Hill insurgency.

Trump had warned in December that Thune would face a major challenge after the senator said efforts to challenge the Electoral College results “would fall like a dog” in the Senate. Cook’s political report has the race of Thune as a “strong Republican”.

After voting for the president’s acquittal in his impeachment trial, Thune said: “What former President Trump has done to undermine confidence in our electoral system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable.”

Thune criticized Republican activists in a recent interview with the Associated Press. He said these activists have engaged in “culture cancellation” by rushing to censor GOP lawmakers who voted to support Trump’s impeachment.

Thune, according to the AP, said he plans to help candidates “who don’t talk about conspiracies and that sort of thing.”

“At the grassroots level, there are a lot of people who want to see candidates like Trump,” he said. “But I think we will be looking for eligible candidates.”

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