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Trump scolds McConnell after impeachment trial speech, blames him for GOP losing the Senate

Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Melania Trump
Posted at 5:22 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 20:50:22-05

In a statement released on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump aimed his grievances at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who decried Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

While McConnell did not vote to convict Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, he blasted Trump from the Senate floor on Saturday, blaming Trump for the riot. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died amid the riots. McConnell cited his belief that the Senate lacked jurisdiction for voting against convicting Trump.

The scathing statement from Trump indicates the growing riff in the Republican Party. Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump, some of whom were censured by state GOP organizations following Saturday’s vote.

"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. "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."

Trump seemed to place blame at McConnell for Republicans losing control of the Senate in the 2020 election.

“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said. “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.”

Part of Trump’s blame was that McConnell did not agree with the White House or Democrats on upping the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 before the two Georgia runoffs, which were both won by Democrats.

“We should have won both U.S. Senate seats, but McConnell matched the Democrat offer of $2,000 stimulus checks with $600,” Trump wrote. “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.”

Trump’s statement came three days after he was acquitted in the US Senate for insisting the Jan. 6 insurrection. McConnell was among the 43 senators – all of whom Republicans – who voted against conviction.

“Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty,” McConnell said. “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.

“And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”

In his rebuke of McConnell, Trump said that he regretted offering an endorsement of the Kentucky senator, who Trump falsely claims was trailing in the polls at the time. Two polls released the day before Trump’s June 19 endorsement of McConnell showed him leading Democrat Amy McGrath by 14 and 20 points respectively.

“Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly,” Trump said in the statement. “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.”

In the days since, Sens. Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy were censured by their respective state Republican committees.

Cassidy defended his vote on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“I was elected to uphold an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Cassidy said. “The majority of the people in Louisiana want that to be the case. And I have, I have respected that trust. I have voted to support and defend the Constitution."

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.