Trump-McConnell clash threatens to settle into a cold war as GOP eyes midterms
By Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey
Were it up to Trump, Republicans would spend the next two years purging their ranks and reshaping themselves in his own image — a process he moved to jump-start Tuesday with a searing attack on the party’s most powerful elected leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell (R-Ky.) has other ideas. Having held Trump responsible for both the loss of his Senate majority in the Jan. 5 Georgia runoffs and the deadly attack on the Capitol a day later, he has moved to chart a different path — one that steers clear of the former president’s personal grievances and conspiratorial rhetoric to put the GOP back in power as soon as possible.
The clash between the two men stands to define the Republican Party for years to come. It was sketched out in a recent series of dramatic public attacks — with McConnell labeling Trump as “practically and morally responsible” for the Capitol riot in a Saturday speech, followed by Trump lashing into McConnell in a Tuesday statement as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” who should be stricken from GOP leadership.