The bitter, shouted attacks in Washington, D.C. surged to a high level when ex-president Donald J. Trump ignited his fiery statements Tuesday.
His latest blast was a caustic and highly personal statement against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, effectively declaring war on the Kentucky Republican for failing to back his attempts to undermine the 2020 election.
McConnell publicly soured on the former president after the Jan. 6 riot inside America’s Capitol, breaking four years of support from the Senate leadership position.
Although he voted against convicting Trump at the Senate impeachment trial, he said from the Senate floor, that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection, which left at least five people dead.
He objected to the constitutionality of convicting a former president, but he also told his caucus that Trump could face criminal prosecution.
The senator penned a Sunday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal defending his decision, which angered Trump, according to a person familiar with the situation.
“Mitch is a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said.
In a McConnell interview with Politico Saturday evening, the minority leader suggested he was not going to allow Trump to stand in the way of Republicans taking back the Senate majority in 2022.
In his statement, Trump blamed McConnell for Republicans’ loss in controlling the Senate last year. He cast McConnell as an unpopular and out-of-touch leader who particularly undercut support for Senate Republicans over his objection to the $2,000 Covid stimulus checks.
Trump claimed McConnell had “no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings.”
McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, served as Trump’s secretary of Transportation for four years before resigning in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.
She came under scrutiny in 2019 for her family’s business dealings in China.
McConnell was one of Trump’s most prominent backers in Congress, particularly in pushing through the former president’s judicial nominees — one of Trump’s cornerstone legacy talking points. He was the driving force in Trump’s landing three nominees on the Supreme Court — Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — through uniquely bitter partisan battles.
“Two words: Federal judges,” a former senior Trump White House official said. “That’s the only positive part of Trump’s legacy, and for that he has Mitch McConnell alone to thank.”