Bennie Thompson knocks Trump over McConnell ‘death wish’ rhetoric
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, knocked former President Trump on Monday over his latest attacks on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and McConnell’s wife, condemning the comments as “inflammatory and racist.”
Trump, a frequent critic of McConnell, drew headlines on Friday when he launched a new attack on the Senate leader, who he said had a “death wish,” and referring to the senator’s wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, by a derogatory name.
“Former President Trump’s inflammatory and racist attacks directed at Senator McConnell aren’t helpful to the nation or our democracy. Worse yet, they could incite political violence, and the former President knows full well that extremists often view his words as marching orders,” Thompson wrote in a statement.
“While unsurprising, these attacks are not indicative of a leader and clearly set a poor example for future generations of Americans. I strongly condemn these attacks – as should all of my Republican and Democratic colleagues,” the Mississippi Democrat added. “We need to be better than this.”
Thompson also serves as the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, which has depicted Trump as playing a central role in fueling the riot and then doing nothing to stop it.
Trump’s attack on McConnell was related to the bipartisan continuing resolution passed by the House and Senate last week to avoid a government shutdown. While McConnell voted “yes” on the measure, GOP leadership in the House urged members of the conference to vote “no.”
“Is McConnell approving all of these Trillions of Dollars worth of Democrat sponsored Bills, without even the slightest bit of negotiation, because he hates Donald J. Trump, and he knows I am strongly opposed to them, or is he doing it because he believes in the Fake and Highly Destructive Green New Deal, and is willing to take the Country down with him? In any event, either reason is unacceptable. He has a DEATH WISH,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
“Must immediately seek help and advise from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” Trump wrote of Chao, who led the Transportation Department during the Trump administration before resigning from her post the day after the Capitol riot.
Friday’s statement is the latest shot in Trump’s feud with McConnell, which exploded when the Senate minority leader recognized President Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
The Kentucky Republican deepened the schism last week when he announced his support for the Electoral Count Reform Act — legislation that reforms the 1887 Electoral Count Act to protect future elections and prevent another Jan. 6 from taking place.
Friday was not the first time Trump went after Chao, who served as Labor secretary for eight years under former President George W. Bush.
In August, Trump called Chao “crazy.”
And Thompson was not the only lawmaker to criticize Trump for his latest comments.
During a speaking event at Syracuse University on Monday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 select committee, said the ex-president’s comments could spark violence and called his attack against Chao “absolutely despicable” and “racist.”
She also criticized her Republican colleagues for not denouncing Trump’s remarks.
“When you see former President Trump just in the last 24 hours suggesting in a pretty thinly veiled way, using words that that could well cause violence against the Republican leader of the Senate, saying he has a death wish and then, you know, launching a absolutely despicable, racist attack against Secretary Chao, Leader McConnell’s wife, and then you watch the fact that nobody in my party will say that’s unacceptable,” Cheney said.
“And everybody ought to be asked whether or not that’s acceptable, and everybody ought to be able to say no, that is not acceptable. They ought to be required to say that,” she added.
Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, was asked on Sunday about Trump’s comments.
“I don’t condone violence, and I hope no one else condones violence,” Scott told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“It’s never ever OK to be racist,” he added. “I think you always have to be careful. If you’re in the public eye, how you say things, you want to make sure you’re inclusive.”