It was fairly obvious at multiple points during the previous administration that there was no love lost between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and President Donald Trump.
Now that Trump has left office, the gloves have effectively come off. In fact, reports this week indicate that McConnell does not intend to ever speak to the ex-president again.
GOP hopes for “cold war”
According to the Washington Examiner, the GOP leader’s position is part of an apparent plan to move his party forward into a post-Trump era.
Although McConnell voted to acquit Trump in the recent Senate impeachment trial, his subsequent remarks made it clear that he held the president accountable for stoking violence ahead of last month’s riot on Capitol Hill.
In response, Trump issued a statement denouncing McConnell as a “political hack” who does not deserve to be a leader in the Republican Party.
The Washington Post cited several unnamed GOP sources who expressed a hope within the party that the rift between the party leaders would settle into a “cold war” allowing Republicans to unify in opposition to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats.
According to that report, however, the last conversation between McConnell and Trump came on Dec. 14 — the same day the senator acknowledged Biden as the winner of the previous month’s presidential election.
“He’d take the deal in a heartbeat”
Sources close to the to men say McConnell has no plans to speak to Trump ever again, describing even the unofficial lines of communication between them as “now cold.”
Josh Holmes, a one-time top McConnell aide, told the Post that he “would be very surprised” if McConnell even mentions the 45th president again.
“If you told Mitch McConnell that every single day he’d receive a love letter from Donald Trump excoriating his physical appearance and ultimately he ended up with the majority in 2022, he’d take the deal in a heartbeat,” Holmes asserted.
Trump’s letter this week attacked McConnell as “dour, sullen, and unsmiling,” going on to forecast primary challenges against establishment Republicans on board with the current Senate leader’s platform.
The former president explained: “Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”