“What I’m concentrating on is the future and what we are confronted with here is a totally left-wing administration, with a slight majority in the House, a 50-50 Senate trying to transform America into something no one voted for last year,” the Kentucky Republican said in response to a reporter’s query about Mr. Trump’s remarks. “That’s what I’m concentrating on.”
Over the weekend, it emerged that Mr. Trump had lambasted the Senate leader during a Republican donor retreat at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Mr. Trump supposedly unloaded his grievances with Mr. McConnell to a room full of GOP donors. Most notably, Mr. Trump accused the Republican leader of not doing enough to protect him during his second impeachment trial earlier this year.
According to individuals in attendance at the event, the former president also asserted that Mr. McConnell was a “dumb son of a b——” and a “stone-cold loser” responsible for costing Republicans the Senate majority.
The dust-up is only the latest development in an increasingly tense relationship between two of the GOP’s top figures.
Since narrowly losing the 2020 contest, Mr. Trump has lashed out at Mr. McConnell and other Senate Republicans for their perceived disloyalty to his administration and its “America First” agenda.
The former president has promised to back primary challengers to several lawmakers he views as part of the “swamp.” That list includes Mr. McConnell’s deputy, Republican Senate Whip John Thune of South Dakota, as well as Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who voted to convict Mr. Trump during his second impeachment trial.
Mr. McConnell, for his part, has shown no signs of being intimidated. Last week, a super PAC aligned with the 79-year-old Senate leader announced it would support Ms. Murkowski’s efforts to retain her seat against an expected primary challenge backed by Mr. Trump.
The relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell could pose challenges to the GOP’s efforts to regain the Senate majority in 2022.
Underscoring that fact is that Mr. Trump’s rebuke of Mr. McConnell over the weekend occurred shortly after the National Republican Senatorial Committee awarded the former president it’s inaugural “Champion for Freedom” award.
Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican who helms the NRSC and presented Mr. Trump the award in person over the weekend, attempted to make light of the situation on Monday.
“President Trump is reported to have referred to Senator McConnell on Saturday as a ‘dumb SOB,’” Mr. Scott wrote on social media. “As all of my colleagues in the Senate know, this is not true. He’s a very smart SOB.”
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