The former President Donald Trump is reportedly out to get revenge on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for turning on him.
Trump is even actively vetting possible candidates to challenge McConnell, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources say that the former president has been meeting with Republican senators to drum up interest in ousting McConnell, although the insiders added that Trump has not found much success in finding people who want the minority leader gone.
Former President Donald Trump has spoken recently with senators and allies about trying to depose Mitch McConnell as Senate GOP leader and whether any Republicans are interested in mounting a challenge, people familiar with the conversations said https://t.co/4aHTLwJEmh
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 19, 2021
While McConnell was an ally of Trump’s during his presidency, their relationship deteriorated back in February, when the Senate Minority Leader said that he believed Trump was “morally responsible” for provoking the Capitol riot that took place on January 6, according to The Hill.
“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell said at the time.
Trump fired back by calling for new leadership to replace McConnell.
“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 in April.
Last month, Trump ripped McConnell as “overrated” because he supported the infrastructure bill.
“Nobody will ever understand why Mitch McConnell allowed this non-infrastructure bill to be passed. He has given up all of his leverage for the big whopper of a bill that will follow,” Trump said. “I have quietly said for years that Mitch McConnell is the most overrated man in politics — now I don’t have to be quiet anymore.”
Despite Trump’s attacks on McConnell, the establishment in the GOP has continued to support the Kentucky Republican. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who was also a Trump ally, expressed his doubts to The Journal that the former president would succeed in ousting McConnell.
“I just don’t realistically see that happening,” said Kennedy.
Trump, however, is not showing any signs of giving up on this. Earlier this week, he directly called on Senate Republicans to get rid of McConnell.
“I think Mitch McConnell has proven to be a disaster,” Trump told The Federalist. “He’s not good for the Republican Party as a leader, and I wish I wouldn’t have endorsed him.”
“The Senate has to make a change at some point,” he added. “I don’t think it’s acceptable having him as a leader.”
When McConnell turned on Trump earlier this year, he showed millions of pro-Trump Republicans that he was a sell-out in their eyes. McConnell may have the GOP establishment behind him, but it’s never a good spot to be in when Trump is coming after you hard. When Trump gets hit, he punches back twice as hard, so it will certainly be interesting to see if McConnell is able to survive this.