Although he voted to acquit former President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial held earlier this month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has nonetheless attracted criticism from many in his party for delivering a fiery Senate floor speech in which he insinuated that Trump bore responsibility for inciting a violent riot on Capitol Hill in January.
In a public statement issued this week, it became clear that the ex-president himself was among McConnell’s harshest detractors.
“Dour, sullen, and unsmiling”
According to the Washington Times, Trump slammed the GOP leader as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack,” vowing to exert his remaining political influence ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
Of course, Trump has never been known as a public figure who takes criticism lying down.
Even without his once-ubiquitous access to social media, the 45th commander in chief apparently felt compelled to strike back after McConnell declared that he was “practically and morally responsible” for the events leading up to the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building.
Trump essentially warned McConnell and other establishment Republicans in the upper chamber that they will fail to maintain power without his support.
“McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse,” the president added.
“How it might reflect on the party”
He went on to make it clear that his political power remains significant, reminding McConnell and others that his administration coincided with the preservation of multiple GOP Senate seats.
Though seven Senate Republicans supported convicting Trump at the conclusion of his second impeachment trial, McConnell joined the overwhelming majority of his party in voting to acquit.
In his subsequent speech, however, McConnell acknowledged that his vote was rooted in constitutional theory rather than the facts presented during the trial.
For his part, Trump maintained that McConnell “begged” for his endorsement during a re-election bid ahead of the 2020 election.
Of course, other prominent GOP lawmakers were similarly critical of McConnell’s take, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who said: “In this case, I don’t believe he speaks for the conference, and I think he needs to be a little careful. You know when I speak, I do actually try and take in mind how it might reflect on the party.”