Trump declares war on McConnell — vows to back MAGA challengers against GOP


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) (D-NY) stand back to back in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and vowed to back primary opponents who support Trump’s agenda.

Trump’s tirade, which describes McConnell as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack,” comes after the Senate GOP leader accused Trump of bearing responsibility for the deadly Capitol riot.

The statement, which Trump sent through his PAC three days after he was acquitted in an unprecedented second impeachment trial, highlights a widening rift in the GOP over what role the former president ought to play in the party.

Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump on one article of inciting the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, making it the most bipartisan impeachment trial vote ever. But the votes for conviction fell below two-thirds of the chamber, resulting in acquittal.

While McConnell voted “not guilty” in the impeachment trial, he has denounced Trump’s conduct leading up to the Capitol riot. Minutes after the trial concluded, McConnell said on the Senate floor that Trump “is practically and morally responsible for provoking” the attack.

McConnell doubled down in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal published Monday evening, slamming Trump’s “unconscionable” behavior during and after the invasion while defending his vote for acquittal.

Trump, whose once-prolific online presence has been muzzled by multiple social media companies, fired back through his “Save America” PAC, claiming McConnell’s “dedication to business as usual” will lead to further Republican losses.

Trump, who lost the White House to President Joe Biden after a single term, blamed McConnell for losing Republican control of the Senate by pushing a too-small offer on direct payments in a coronavirus relief package.

“I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats,” Trump claimed, “and 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?”

Trump spent the days before Georgia’s Senate runoff elections spreading unfounded conspiracy theories that widespread fraud led to Biden’s narrow win in the state. Shortly before those runoffs, news outlets published audio of a phone call showing Trump pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed for him to win the state’s presidential election.

One attorney allied with Trump had also encouraged Republicans to boycott the runoffs.

Trump’s statement Tuesday also accused McConnell of having “no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings.”

McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan at a young age. She served as Trump’s own Transportation Secretary until January, when she quit his Cabinet one day after the then-president’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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