Trump hits McConnell again, saying GOP needs new leadership
Former President Trump on Thursday renewed his feud with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by calling for Senate Republicans to find a new leader ahead of the midterm elections, suggesting doing so would boost their chances of taking back the upper chamber next year.
Asked by Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo how Republicans will fare in the 2022 elections, Trump said he expects GOP candidates to do very well but said the party needs new leadership in the Senate.
“I think we’re going to do very well. We need good leadership. Mitch McConnell has not done a great job, I think they should change Mitch McConnell,” Trump said during an hourlong interview Thursday morning.
But Trump said his own support of GOP candidates would help Republicans win back Congress.
“I’m looking at the right people to endorse and when I endorse people it means a lot,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a great victory in 2022. I think we’re going to take back the House. Everybody’s working very hard.”
Most Senate Republicans remain solidly unified behind McConnell and have repeatedly defended the GOP leader from Trump’s attacks.
No Republican senator has stated any desire to challenge McConnell, whom many GOP lawmakers view as one of the smartest tacticians in Washington.
Trump highlighted his work with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who traveled to Trump’s Palm Beach resort in January to meet with the former president.
“I’m working in conjunction with Kevin McCarthy and the group and I think we’re going to take back the House,” he said.
McConnell, by contrast, hasn’t spoken to Trump since mid-December and rarely invokes the former president by name after denouncing him on the Senate floor in February for inciting an unruly mob of supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. McConnell, however, did not vote to convict Trump on a House-passed article of impeachment accusing him of inciting an insurrection.
Trump ripped McConnell afterward in a lengthy statement that warned “the Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm.”
He declared if “Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
Trump took another shot at the GOP leader at a fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, ripping him as a “dumb son of a bitch” and a “stone-cold loser.”
McConnell tried to put the feud to rest when asked about Trump’s attacks.
“What I’m concentrating on is the future and what we are confronted with here is a totally left-wing administration, with a slight majority in the House, a 50-50 Senate trying to transform America into something no one voted for last year,” McConnell told reporters earlier this month.
“That’s what I’m concentrating on,” he said.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told The Hill at the time that he did not agree with Trump’s disparagement of his leader.
“I disagree with them completely,” he said of Trump’s comments.