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Trump blasts McConnell as a 'hack' who lacks 'political insight'

Trump blamed McConnell instead of himself for the GOP's troubles, days after the Senate minority leader criticized Trump's "dereliction of duty" on Jan. 6
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Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday slammed former top ally Mitch McConnell as a "political hack" who "doesn't have what it takes," days after the Senate minority leader voted to acquit Trump at his impeachment trial while criticizing his "disgraceful dereliction of duty" on Jan. 6.

"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a 600-word statement where he also blamed McConnell for Republicans' losing two key Senate seats in a special election in Georgia — and not his own baseless arguments that the election was rigged.

"It was a complete election disaster in Georgia, and certain other swing states. McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will," Trump's statement said.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," Trump added.

The fiery statement came after McConnell, R-Ky., voted Saturday to acquit Trump at his second impeachment trial. McConnell said he voted not guilty on the single charge of incitement of insurrection solely because Trump's no longer in office — and not because he believed the former president hadn't incited the crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it," McConnell said on the Senate floor after Trump's acquittal.

"The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president," he said.

"And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth," he continued.

He reiterated his position in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, writing that Trump's behavior "during and after the chaos was also unconscionable, from attacking Vice President Mike Pence during the riot to praising the criminals after it ended.”

As majority leader, McConnell helped Trump score several key victories, including the appointments of three Supreme Court justices and passage of his tax cut bill — issues that were in McConnell's interest as well.

Image: Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reacts as President Donald Trump speaks to the press before a meeting with Republican Congressional leaders at the White House on Sept. 5, 2018.Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images file

In his statement, Trump painted McConnell as a political idiot.

"McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse," Trump said.

The former president, who has not spoken publicly since he left office on Jan. 20, also suggested he would campaign against those he feels have crossed him.

"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," Trump said.

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He also claimed that McConnell, who trounced Democratic opponent Amy McGrath by 19 points in November, would have lost if not for Trump's endorsement.

"How quickly he forgets. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly. Now, his numbers are lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate, and in so doing, seriously hurting our Country," Trump said.

Josh Holmes, McConnell's former chief of staff, chided the media for covering Trump's remarks.

"The most amusing part of this Trump letter is all the journos who told us Trump's words were dangerous and should be deplatformed are now wallpapering Twitter with them as soon as he attacks Republicans," Holmes tweeted.