Politics Trump: McConnell refusal on $2,000 checks cost GOP its Senate majority
Trump taunts don't shake McConnell's hold on Senate GOP
The crumbled alliance between Trump and McConnell has finally brought the GOP to the reckoning that never happened after the 2016 election. Trump may take another swipe at McConnell in the coming days at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But McConnell probably won’t hear it: He is not expected to speak at CPAC, according to Republican sources. McConnell still hasn’t spoken to Trump in more than two months. And interviews with nearly a dozen Senate Republicans on Monday night make clear that it will take more than a war of words with Trump to knock McConnell off his perch. Both Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.
Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Sen. Mitch McConnell on Thursday over his "refusal" to approve payments to Americans above $600 during coronavirus spending negotiations last year, blaming the now-Senate minority leader for two GOP losses in Georgia that handed Democrats the majority.
“To set the record straight, there were two reasons the Senate races were lost in Georgia," Trump said in a statement issued Thursday, pointing to "McConnell’s refusal to go above $600 per person on the stimulus check payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2,000 per person in ad after ad.”
Lindsey Graham Says Donald Trump Is More 'Dominant' in GOP Than Mitch McConnell
The Republican senator from South Carolina said McConnell's condemnation of the former president did not reflect the GOP caucus.The South Carolina Republican told Newsmax on Wednesday that he didn't think McConnell's denouncement of Trump after his second Senate impeachment trial was "reflective" of the GOP caucus, but conceded that he could "have his say" as an individual senator.
“This latter point was used against our [GOP] senators and the $2,000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats who bought the Georgia election — and McConnell let them do it!” Trump added.
Democrats campaigned heavily on a promise to deliver $2,000 stimulus checks if they secured both Senate seats, giving the party control of the chamber with the addition of Vice President Kamala Harris's tiebreaking vote.
Then-Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both Republicans,to increase coronavirus payments to $2,000 one week before their Jan. 6 runoffs, a position that was at odds with most of the party — McConnell included.
Mitch McConnell Plays Long Game on Donald Trump, Keeping His Focus on Republican Power
The Senate minority leader said his attention is on 2022 when asked about the future prospects of the former president.McConnell was asked on Fox News whether he would support Trump if he were to become the party's candidate for the next presidential nomination.
Democrats are working to pass a $1.9 trillion package that includes $1,400 payments, extended unemployment benefits, and aid for vaccine distribution and schools.
Trump's second reason he believes the Georgia races were lost stems from what he called the National Republican Senatorial Committee's "ineffective" television advertising featuring McConnell and credited his own endorsement for McConnell's reelection win.
“Even more stupidly, the [NRSC] spent millions of dollars on ineffective TV ads starring Mitch McConnell, the most unpopular politician in the country, who only won in Kentucky because President Trump endorsed him," Trump said, reiterating a claim he made in remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. "He would have lost badly without this endorsement.”
Speaking to reporters this week, McConnellthat he wanted "to thank [Trump] for the 15-point margin I had in 2014, as well.” McConnell and Trump have been locked in a war of words since the minority leader suggested the former president should face criminal charges for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, even after voting to acquit Trump. The former commander in chief has been criticizing McConnell ever since as the duo jockeys for influence within and control over the Republican Party.
The real post-Trump GOP divide: House vs. Senate
House and Senate Republicans are taking divergent stances toward President Joe Biden, even as they unite in opposition to his coronavirus bill. Even before Biden’s inauguration, the House-Senate GOP split was beginning to unfold. More than 100 House Republicans signed an amicus brief in support of throwing out November’s election results as Trump pushed a baseless narrative of voter fraud, and a similar number challenged the certification of the election. In the Senate, no one supported the brief and just eight GOP senators challenged Biden’s election in Congress.
Trump also blamed voters' anger and "disappointment" with Georgia's Republican leadership "for failing to stand up to Stacey Abrams" and for "virtually" eliminating a signature requirement, he claimed.
In the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, Trump raised more than $30 million through his leadership committee, urging his supporters in fundraising texts and emails to help the party hold the line in Georgia and contest the presidential results.
Federal filings through the end of the year reviewed last month by the Washington Examiner showed his new group.
Trump visited the state several times in the lead-up to the runoffs but was criticized for touting his election fraud claims, which some believed could suppress turnout.
Three days before the runoffs, anbetween and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger leaked in which the then-president asked Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" to overturn the Georgia presidential race in his favor.
Republicans have built a cult of personality around Trump that glosses over his disgraced presidency
As leading Republicans whitewash Trump's legacy and enable the personality cult surrounding him, it's also revealing deep fractures in the party. In a mid-February statement explaining why he was voting to convict Trump over the Capitol riot in the former president's Senate impeachment trial, GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned about the dangers of "tribalism." Sasse was effectively calling out his Republican colleagues who were standing by Trump despite the damning, indisputable evidence against him on top of his relentless attacks on the foundations of America's democracy.
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Trump dives into battle for Senate .
These days there’s a growing recognition that the Senate GOP and Trump need each other.The former president is dialing up GOP senators to back their campaigns and talk strategy, weighing how to approach primaries in critical open seats and making sure he leaves an imprint on the midterm elections. Trump’s involvement, revealed in interviews with a dozen GOP senators, shows how far the 50-member conference has come two months after they weighed a clean break with the former president following the insurrection at the Capitol by his supporters.