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Trump attacks Karl Rove: 'A pompous fool with bad advice'

Former President Trump Thursday evening fired back at longtime Republican strategist Karl Rove, who in an opinion piece this week criticized Trump's address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as ringing "hollow" among his supporters. 

Trump in a statement shared by his PAC Save America called Rove a "pompous fool with bad advice" and a Republican in name only, or RINO.

"Karl Rove has been losing for years, except for himself," the former president wrote. "He's a RINO of the highest order, who came to the Oval Office lobbying for 5G for him and a group." 

"After a lengthy discussion with Rove and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, I said no, they're not qualified. Our Nation can do much better!" Trump added.

The former president, who has set up his post-administration office at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., called Rove a "pompous fool with bad advice" who "always has an agenda." 

He further accused the former Bush administration adviser of bungling this year's Senate runoff elections in Georgia.

"Karl would be much more at home at the disastrous Lincoln Project. I heard they have numerous openings!" Trump said, referring to a series of resignations from the anti-Trump GOP group following harassment allegations against John Weaver, one of the organization's co-founders.  

The former president defended his performance at CPAC, writing, "31 million people listened to my CPAC speech online, and it had among the largest television audience of the week, even though it was on cable at 4pm on Sunday afternoon."

According to ratings reported by CNN, Fox News averaged 5.74 million viewers during Trump's speech, with at least 1.5 million others watching on Newsmax. 

In his Wall Street Journal opinion piece published Wednesday, Rove wrote that Trump's CPAC speech did little to mobilize members of the GOP because there "was no forward-looking agenda, simply a recitation of his greatest hits." 

Rove argued that Trump is losing momentum among the party, refuting his claim that his "endorsement is the most powerful asset in politics," by pointing out that "181 of the 213 winning Republicans ran ahead of him, including eight in the 14 closest races that gave the GOP its pickups."

"These results reinforce that Mr. Trump's drawing power is a double-edged sword," the GOP strategist said. "Yes, he received 11.2 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016 - but also helped turn out 15.4 million more to oppose him, losing by 7.1 million." 

Rove wrote that while "elements of Mr. Trump's speech were fine," the speech's "divisive, controversial and embittered parts dominated the coverage." 

"He might be pleased by that, but shouldn't be," Rove wrote. "Republicans shouldn't be either."

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