Former President Donald Trump agreed to remove a line from his searing statement blasting Mitch McConnell that would have said that the Senate Minority Leader has "too many chins but not enough smarts", according to reports.
Mr Trump put out a statement after Mr McConnell excoriated Mr Trump following his second impeachment trial. Mr McConnell said that Mr Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection on 6 January, but he still voted to acquit Mr Trump arguing that it would be unconstitutional to convict a former president, going against the opinion of many constitutional scholars.
Mr McConnell also told his caucus that Mr Trump could face criminal prosecution, something mentioned by several of the 43 Republicans who voted to acquit.
What particularly riled up Mr Trump to go after Mr McConnell was his Sunday opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, explaining his decision. In the piece, Mr McConnell said: "There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility. His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone."
The 622-word statement in response from Mr Trump, put out by his “Save America” Political Action Committee, said in part: “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."
Mr McConnell has indicated that he will attempt to purge Trump-loyal candidates from the party if they are running for seats they are unlikely to win. Mr McConnell, who will be 84 at the end of his current term in 2026, wants to win back the Senate in 2022 and doesn't want Mr Trump to be a drag on the party.
McConnell told Politico Saturday: “My goal is, in every way possible, to have nominees representing the Republican Party who can win in November. Some of them may be people the former president likes. Some of them may not be. The only thing I care about is electability."
He added: "I’m not predicting the president would support people who couldn't win. But I do think electability, not who supports who, is the critical point.”
An earlier draft of the statement from Mr Trump had “a lot of repetitive stuff and definitely something about him having too many chins but not enough smarts,” a person familiar with the matter told Politico.
Mr Trump dictated the statement himself and was convinced to tone it down by his advisors, the report claims.
Appearing on Fox News Tuesday night, close Trump ally and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said that Mr Trump being responsible for the Capitol riot was not a “widely shared view of President Trump by most Republicans".
But Mr Graham also said: “Mitch McConnell was indispensable to Donald Trump’s success. They’re now at each other’s throats. I’m more worried about 2022 than I’ve ever been. I don’t want to eat our own.”
He added: “My beef is not with Mitch McConnell. My beef is that we need to knock this off.”
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