Namita SinghThu, 18 February 2021, 6:18 am
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell reportedly plans to ignore former president Donald Trump from now on, after a scathing personal attack in which Mr Trump called him a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack”.
“Mitch McConnell actually laughed about Donald Trump’s statement when he first saw this,” said CNN’s congressional correspondent Manu Raju, citing sources. “Mitch McConnell has no plans to respond. In fact, I’m told by multiple sources that he plans to ignore Donald Trump altogether as he tries to navigate the post-Trump era.”
The two Republicans shared a cordial relationship throughout Mr Trump’s presidency, but it soured quickly and publicly after the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.
Even though Mr McConnell voted to acquit Mr Trump at the Senate impeachment trial, he said from the Senate floor that the former president was “practically and morally responsible” for the riots that had left five people dead.
“Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty,” Mr McConnell said.
Mr McConnell also penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal defending his decision to acquit Mr Trump while strongly condemning the former president’s conduct, suggesting Mr Trump deserved to be punished but that the process of impeachment was not the appropriate platform to do so once his term was over.
Following those comments, Mr Trump issued a lengthy statement attacking the Kentucky Republican.
He said: “The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Senator Mitch McConnell at its helm.”
A person involved in the drafting of the statement told Politico that the attack could have been far worse and that the published version was “toned down from the former president’s original comments.”
“There was also a lot of repetitive stuff and definitely something about him having too many chins but not enough smarts,” the person said.
The exchange between the two Republicans in the aftermath of the impeachment trial has exposed a glaring rift within the GOP, which is hoping to reclaim its Senate majority in 2022.
Despite the fallout, in a previous interview with Politico, Mr McConnell clarified that his goal is to support all Republicans who can contribute to a win for the party in 2022, regardless of whether they are favoured by or favour the former president.