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GOP senator dismisses Trump-McConnell feud

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP braces for wild week with momentous vote Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan MORE (S.D.), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, refused to directly respond to former President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors MORE's attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP braces for wild week with momentous vote GOP divided over expected Cheney ouster Sunday shows - White House COVID-19 response coordinator says US is 'turning the corner' MORE (R-Ky.) while urging Republicans to embrace party unity.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Thune was asked about remarks Trump made Saturday evening at a Republican National Committee (RNC) gathering at Mar-a-Lago, during which the former president reportedly referred to the Senate GOP leader as a "dumb son of a bitch" for not opposing the certification of the 2020 election results.

“If that were Schumer instead of this dumb son of a bitch Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen. They would have fought it,” Trump told attendees, according to The Washington Post, referring to Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture MORE (D-N.Y.).

In response, Thune said on Sunday that such rhetoric was just "part of the style and tone that comes with the former president," adding that he believed the two men shared a common goal of defeating Democrats.

Thune also refused to respond to Trump's threat of endorsing a primary challenger in the senator's 2022 race, saying he would make an announcement regarding his reelection plans later this year.

"I will announce something on my reelection plans as I typically do later in the year," he said.

Thune's comments are part of a larger pattern among Republicans who refuse to directly respond to the former president's attacks and criticism aimed at members of the GOP who did not support challenges to the certification of the 2020 election results over Trump's unproven claims of widespread voter fraud and election rigging.

Those challenges culminated in a riot that overtook the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as lawmakers deliberated the certification of the 2020 election results, resulting in five deaths, including that of a U.S. Capitol Police officer.