Now that Donald Trump has left office, the gloves have come off between the former president and Republican establishment leaders who tolerated him with thinly-concealed contempt during his tenure in the White House.
An all-out battle within the GOP may have been sparked by a statement released by Trump that blasted Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a “hack” and failure who would oversee the party’s decline if he remains in charge, the Washington Examiner reported.
In a statement released Tuesday, Trump blamed McConnell for the GOP’s loss of the Senate and vowed to back primary challengers against any incumbent Republican who wasn’t on board with the “America First” agenda.
Trump’s attack came just days after McConnell declared Trump responsible for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot after the trial had concluded, despite voting to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial.
McConnell to blame
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said. “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.”
Trump boasted of the record number of votes he had received and how, defying expectations, Republicans nearly regained control of the House. He contrasted this with McConnell’s loss of the Senate due to the Senate leader’s mishandling of the special elections in Georgia.
Trump wrote that the Georgia run-off was a “complete election disaster” and that “McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.”
The former president also took credit for McConnell’s recent reelection in Kentucky and proceeded to call him out over his family business ties to communist China. “He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat,” he wrote.
Trump declares war on GOP establishment
“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. “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,” he continued.
That unadulterated threat to back primary challenges against McConnell and his establishment GOP allies has undoubtedly caused concerns about the growing rift within the party.
However, as the Examiner noted, Trump could well prevail in the battle based on recent findings of pollsters at Morning Consult. The poll found that 59% of Republicans believe Trump should play a “major role” in the GOP going forward, and 54% would support him in another run for the presidency in 2024.