Donald Trump has launched a bitter and personal attack on one of his party's senior leaders in an extraordinary statement since being acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial last week.
Trump took aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday (local time), accusing him being a "hack" for not joining his effort to undermine the result of the 2020 presidential election which saw him lose the White House to Joe Biden.
In a very lengthy statement issued by Trump's team, the former president aired a long list of grievances centred around his failed effort to overturn the vote count in state's like Georgia, and accused McConnell of "destroying the Republican side of the Senate" for not joining the effort.
"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," the statement said.
"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."
Trump said McConnell "begged" him for a recent endorsement, which allowed him to win re-election in November, according to Trump.
Because of that re-election, McConnell won't face the Republican voters again for another six years, so the threat from the former president will do little to cower the shrewd political veteran, who some political commentators have argued will now work to limit Trump's influence over the party.
Oh man, long Trump statement going after Mitch McConnell pic.twitter.com/houXKQzymT
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) February 16, 2021
Trump 'morally responsible' for violent mob: McConnell
While McConnell didn't vote to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial (seven Republicans did), he still delivered a disparaging speech, laying the blame for the violent mob who attacked the Capitol building in Washington DC squarely at the feet of Trump.
McConnell used his strongest language to date to excoriate Trump minutes after the Senate acquitted the former president, saying he was “morally responsible” for the violent siege.
Clearly angry in his speech on the Senate floor, he said Trump’s actions around the time of the attack on Congress were “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty”.
It was a stunningly bitter castigation of Trump by McConnell, who could have used much of the same speech had he instead decided to convict.
He even noted that though Trump is now out of office, he remains subject to the country’s criminal and civil laws.
“He didn’t get away with anything yet,” McConnell said.
In a Wall Street Journal column on Monday (local time), he repeated his claim, writing: "[Trump's] supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone".
"His behaviour during and after the chaos was also unconscionable."
Trump clearly didn't take it well.
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