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Trump declares warfare on McConnell – vows to help MAGA challengers towards GOP

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Former President Donald Trump reacts as he is driven past trailers in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 15, 2021.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Promising to support the main opponents who support Trump's agenda.

The fiery statement, which McConnell describes as a "grumpy, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" comes after the Senate GOP leader accused Trump of responsibility for the deadly Capitol riot.

Trump, whose once productive online presence was muzzled by several social media companies, claimed in a statement from his political action committee that McConnell's "commitment to business as usual" would result in further Republican losses.

"He will never do what needs to be done or what is right for our country," Trump said of McConnell. "Where necessary and appropriate, I will support major competitors who are working to make America great again and our America politics first."

The statement, issued three days after Trump's acquittal in an unprecedented second impeachment trial, shows a growing divide in the GOP over what role the former president should play in the party. Trump, who maintains high approval among Republicans, had previously signaled that he would remain active in politics.

Seven Republican senators voted to condemn Trump for an article instigating the January 6 invasion of the Capitol. It was the most cross-party impeachment vote of all time. However, the votes for the conviction fell below two-thirds of the chamber, resulting in an acquittal.

While voting "not guilty" on impeachment, McConnell has denounced Trump's behavior prior to the Capitol uprising. Minutes after the trial was over, McConnell said in the Senate that Trump "was practically and morally responsible for provoking the attack."

McConnell doubled in a comment published for the Wall Street Journal published Monday night, slamming Trump's "irresponsible" behavior during and after the invasion while defending his acquittal vote.

In his statement, Trump failed to address the attack on the Capitol that led to his second impeachment.

A spokesman for McConnell's office did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. But Josh Holmes, McConnell's former chief of staff, said in a tweet: "The most amusing part of this Trump letter is all of the journos who told us Trump's words were dangerous and should be deformed, and are now tweeting them as soon as he attacks Republicans. "

Trump, who lost the White House to President Joe Biden after a single term in office, accused McConnell of losing Republican control of the Senate by making an undersized offer for direct payments in a coronavirus aid package.

"I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats," Trump claimed, "and then came the Georgia disaster where we should have won both Senate seats, but McConnell took along the Democrats' $ 2,000 stimulus check $ 600 reconciled. How does that work? " Job?"

Trump spent the days leading up to the runoff elections in the Georgian Senate spreading unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that widespread fraud led to Biden's narrow victory in the state. Shortly before those runoff elections, news outlets released audio of a phone call in which Trump pressured Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger to "find" the votes he needed to win the state's presidential election. A lawyer allied with Trump had also encouraged Republicans to boycott the runoff elections.

Trump's statement also accused Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp, as well as Raffensperger and the Republican Party itself, of losing Peach State's drains. Trump appeared to re-emerge his false allegations of electoral fraud, accusing these officials of "failing to do [their] work on electoral integrity during the 2020 presidential contest".

Trump also accused McConnell of "lacking credibility with China because of his family's substantial Chinese business interests."

McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, immigrated to the United States from Taiwan at a young age. She served as Trump's transportation secretary until January when she left his cabinet the day after the then-President's supporters stormed the Capitol.

An advertising campaign by McConnell's former political opponent Amy McGrath had made a similar connection between McConnell's wealth and China. The Washington Post called this ad "grossly misleading" and McConnell's campaign called it racist.

Trump's testimony also claimed that McConnell, who has won re-election every six years since 1990, would have "lost hard" without his approval. Trump said the provision of this confirmation was his "only regret".

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Katherine Clark