Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says ‘divisive’ Trump attacks on GOP officials are ‘unhelpful’ MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday sidestepped blistering criticism from former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been ‘so much worse’ without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid ‘white lives matter’ protest MORE, who called the GOP leader a “dumb son of a bitch” in remarks over the weekend.
McConnell, known for being tight-lipped with reporters in the Capitol hallways, declined to respond to questions about the former president’s comments.
Asked broadly about Trump’s comments or if he had anything he would “like to say,” McConnell didn’t comment. He’s likely to face questions again on Tuesday when he holds his weekly news conference.
During a Saturday speech to members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) at the former president’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump unloaded on McConnell because the minority leader did not support overturning the 2020 presidential election results in Congress.
“If that were Schumer instead of this dumb son of a bitch Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen. They would have fought it,” Trump told the assembled RNC members, according to The Washington Post, referring to Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing ‘to balance the conservative majority’ The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections MORE (D-N.Y.).
Trump, according to the Post, also called McConnell a “stone cold loser.”
Trump and McConnell were close allies throughout most of his presidency despite their 180-degree stylistic differences, with Trump known for being brash and unwieldy and McConnell publicly reserved and strategic. Trump has publicly praised McConnell, particularly for his work on confirming judicial nominees, and McConnell sidestepped weighing in on some of the former president’s biggest controversies.
But a massive fissure opened up between the two after Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him.
McConnell, who waited until Dec. 15, the day after the Electoral College certified President BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been ‘so much worse’ without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE‘s victory, before publicly congratulating the elected president, urged GOP senators to not support efforts backed by Trump and top allies to try to challenge the results of the election in key battleground states in Congress.
Though he voted to acquit Trump during the impeachment trial earlier this year, he also blasted him as “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack in which a mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol.
McConnell has sidestepped directly mentioning or criticizing Trump since their dust-up sparked concerns about a GOP civil war heading into the election in 2022, when the party is hoping to win back the Senate.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla.) presented a new award to Trump over the weekend that the campaign arm described as intended for “conservative leaders who have worked tirelessly to create good jobs, protect the values that make our country great, and stop the Democrats’ socialist agenda.”
Scott said on Monday that he gave Trump the award on Friday, before Trump railed against the Senate GOP leader.
Asked about Trump’s remarks on McConnell, Scott quipped, “I think he’s one of the smartest SOBs I know.”
Other GOP senators also urged the two to paper over their differences and focus on the party and the next election cycle.
“I think he was venting to a bunch of donors, and, you know, I think that in the end what they should be both focused on is how to win the majority of the Senate back,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSunday shows – Infrastructure dominates GOP senator dismisses Trump-McConnell feud Thune: ‘There are Republicans who would vote’ for smaller infrastructure package MORE (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2.
Thune added that the future of the relationship was “hard to predict” but that “hopefully there will be some sort of truce.”
“I think it’s in everybody’s best interest, I think including the former president if he wants to continue to stay viable politically, to help us win the majority in 2022, and that means working with Senate Republicans, not against them,” Thune said.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who stuck closely to Trump during the 2020 election, said Republicans had “enough problems without fighting within ourselves.”
“Sometimes you get people arguing, you know, amongst yourselves, and then you bring your whole team down. So that’s pretty much how I think about this. … We don’t need arguing between teammates,” Tuberville said.