Former President Donald Trump attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Tuesday in his first statement since McConnell harshly criticized Trump over the weekend after the former president was acquitted in his second impeachment trial for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In a extensive and often bitter statement, Trump called McConnell a “political hack” unable to stand up to Democrats and in need of being replaced:
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm. 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.”
There are reports that Trump wanted to go after McConnell on a more “personal” basis and attack him for having a double chin, but was urged not to do so by advisers:
“According to Politico, Trump had to be persuaded by loyal aides to scale back his scathing attack on the Kentucky Republican. “There was also a lot of repetitive stuff and definitely something about him having too many chins but not enough smarts,” an individual with knowledge of the various drafts told the outlet. (Former White House adviser Jason Miller later denied that a criticism of McConnell’s appearance was ever considered.)”
The back and forth between Trump and McConnell is seen by many as the beginning of a GOP civil war which has been brewing for years and threatens to destroy the party if it continues to escalate. Even though McConnell voted to acquit Trump, he later took to the Senate floor and blamed the former president for stirring a crowd of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, killing a Capitol police officer:
“Former President Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty. Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”
Additionally, the bad blood between Trump and McConnell has other Republicans worried what it portends for the future, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) lamenting:
“They’re now at each other’s throat. I’m more worried about 2022 than I’ve ever been. I don’t want to eat our own.“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. We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump. If you don’t get that, you’re just not looking.”