Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a blistering statement needling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his comments after last week’s impeachment trial — but Trump’s comments were nearly far harsher than what it appeared.
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 actual statement, published by Trump’s PAC was still plenty harsh — calling McConnell a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.” The former president also railed against rank-and-file conservatives who follow McConnell’s agenda and threatened that the Republican Party might not have a future if it doesn’t continue to use Trump as the face of the party. “If Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” he said.
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Trump’s attack followed an opinion piece by McConnell published in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal that was harshly critical of Trump’s involvement in and handling of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Although McConnell voted to acquit Trump on Saturday on technical grounds, he called the former president “practically and morally responsible” for the attack on the Capitol that left five people dead.
According to Politico, Trump dictated the statement himself since he is banned from basically all social media platforms, including Twitter, his former app of choice for missives like this.
In an ironic twist, Trump called McConnell “one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States.” Trump also claimed that McConnell’s family dealings overseas — McConnell’s wife and former Trump Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao was scrutinized in 2019 for her family’s investments there — should preclude him from dealing with China. Trump said McConnell has “no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings.”
With his statements, Trump seemed to imply that he intends to remain in control of the Republican Party.