News & Politics

Trump Sparks a GOP Civil War With SCATHING McConnell Rebuke

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump released a scathing denunciation of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), launching a civil war in the Republican Party. In a speech after the Senate voted to acquit Trump on charges of impeachment related to the Capitol riot on January 6, McConnell had echoed Democratic talking points, explaining that he only voted to acquit Trump because he thought it unconstitutional to convict a former president who had already left office.

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country,” Trump declared. “Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.”

On Sunday, McConnell had condemned Trump for “false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole” after the 2020 election. He also condemned “the increasingly wild myths — myths — about a reversed landslide election.” McConnell acknowledged that Democrats have engaged in reckless remarks that may have incited violence, but he insisted that Trump’s rhetoric was worse.

“A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious that only President Trump could end this. He was the only one who could. Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration. The president did not act swiftly, he did not do his job,” McConnell said. “When the president did, half-heartedly, begin calling for peace, … he kept repeating election lies and praising the criminals.”

McConnell’s remarks not only conceded a central point in Democrats’ impeachment — that Trump’s election rhetoric had incited the attack on the Capitol — but opened the door to Democrats’ budding new domestic “War on Terror,” an initiative that appears to blame conservatives for the Capitol riot and launch government surveillance against them.

Trump was right to criticize McConnell’s remarks, but he arguably went overboard in his response.

“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump declared. “McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse. The Democrats and Chuck Schumer play McConnell like a fiddle—they’ve never had it so good—and they want to keep it that way!”

The former president touted his nearly 75 million votes, “the most votes of any sitting President in history,” and claimed credit for Republican victories in the House of Representatives and partisan state legislatures. He blamed McConnell for the Democrats’ victories in the Georgia Senate run-off elections. Trump claimed that he “single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats, more than eight in the 2020 cycle alone—and then came the Georgia disaster, where we should have won both U.S. Senate seats, but McConnell matched the Democrat offer of $2,000 stimulus checks with $600. How does that work?”

“Many Republicans in Georgia voted Democrat, or just didn’t vote, because of their anguish at their inept Governor, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and the Republican Party, for not doing its job on Election Integrity during the 2020 Presidential race,” Trump argued. (To be fair, the claims of Trump-supporting lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood also depressed GOP turnout.)

The former president also accused McConnell of refusing to fight “to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.”

“My only regret is that McConnell ‘begged’ for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him. He went from one point down to 20 points up, and won. How quickly he forgets. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly,” Trump argued. “Now, his numbers are lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate, and in so doing, seriously hurting our Country.”

The former president also hit McConnell on “his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings.”

Trump concluded his statement with a contrast between his final year in office and Biden’s tenure so far.

“Prior to the pandemic, we produced the greatest economy and jobs numbers in the history of our Country, and likewise, our economic recovery after [COVID-19] was the best in the world. We cut taxes and regulations, rebuilt our military, took care of our Vets, became energy independent, built the wall and stopped the massive inflow of illegals into our Country, and so much more,” he argued. “And now, illegals are pouring in, pipelines are being stopped, taxes will be going up, and we will no longer be energy independent. This is a big moment for our country, and we cannot let it pass by using third rate ‘leaders’ to dictate our future!”

McConnell did deserve Trump’s wrath following his speech on impeachment, but the former president may have done more harm than good with this statement. Democrats likely knew they could not convince enough Senate Republicans to convict Trump and bar him from future office, but they likely pursued impeachment in part to divide the Republican Party.

McConnell committed the first sin by condemning Trump too vocally, but the former president just lit the fuse. Now, the Republican civil war will launch into high gear. This is a grave tragedy, considering that President Joe Biden’s radical and divisive policies provide the GOP with an excellent opportunity to unite.

The GOP cannot afford partisan squabbles inside its ranks. Trump and McConnell agree on fundamental principles and oppose Biden’s destructive agenda. They should meet privately to hash out their differences before it is too late.

Senate Votes to Acquit Trump in Impeachment

Read Trump’s full statement here:

The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political “leaders” like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm. McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse. The Democrats and Chuck Schumer play McConnell like a fiddle—they’ve never had it so good—and they want to keep it that way! We know our America First agenda is a winner, not McConnell’s Beltway First agenda or Biden’s America Last.

In 2020, I received the most votes of any sitting President in history, almost 75,000,000. Every incumbent House Republican won for the first time in decades, and we flipped 15 seats, almost costing Nancy Pelosi her job. Republicans won majorities in at least 59 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers, and the Democrats failed to flip a single legislative chamber from red to blue. And in “Mitch’s Senate,” over the last two election cycles, I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats, more than eight in the 2020 cycle alone—and then came the Georgia disaster, where we should have won both U.S. Senate seats, but McConnell matched the Democrat offer of $2,000 stimulus checks with $600. How does that work? It became the Democrats’ principal advertisement, and a big winner for them it was. McConnell then put himself, one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States, into the advertisements. Many Republicans in Georgia voted Democrat, or just didn’t vote, because of their anguish at their inept Governor, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and the Republican Party, for not doing its job on Election Integrity during the 2020 Presidential race.

It was a complete election disaster in Georgia, and certain other swing states. McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.

My only regret is that McConnell “begged” for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him. He went from one point down to 20 points up, and won. How quickly he forgets. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly. Now, his numbers are lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate, and in so doing, seriously hurting our Country.

Likewise, McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings. He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.

Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.

Prior to the pandemic, we produced the greatest economy and jobs numbers in the history of our Country, and likewise, our economic recovery after Covid was the best in the world. We cut taxes and regulations, rebuilt our military, took care of our Vets, became energy independent, built the wall and stopped the massive inflow of illegals into our Country, and so much more. And now, illegals are pouring in, pipelines are being stopped, taxes will be going up, and we will no longer be energy independent.

This is a big moment for our country, and we cannot let it pass by using third rate “leaders” to dictate our future!

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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