Former US President Donald Trump took aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and at his Vice President Mike Pence during remarks to the GOP’s top donors at his Mar-a-Lago resort on the weekend.
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that Trump veered sharply from prepared remarks Saturday night and instead slammed McConnell as a “stone-cold loser” and mocked McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who was Trump’s transportation secretary.
Trump also said he was “disappointed” in Pence and used a profanity in assessing McConnell, according to multiple people in attendance who were not authorized to publicly discuss what was said in a private session.
The former President reportedly said that McConnell had not thanked him properly for putting Chao, who was labor secretary under President George W. Bush, in his Cabinet.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.
The tensions between Trump and McConnell date back to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.
While McConnell voted against impeaching Trump over charges of “inciting insurrection” at his Senate impeachment trial, he later criticized Trump and said that he was “practically and morally responsible” for his supporters’ deadly attack on the Capitol.
Trump, in turn, released a statement in which he lambasted McConnell and referred to him as “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack”.
The prepared remarks of Trump’s speech included him telling donors he will help them win seats in 2022 congressional elections.
“We are gathered tonight to talk about the future of the Republican Party – and what we must do to set our candidates on a course to victory,” Trump said, according to a text of his speech to the group seen by Reuters.
“I stand before you this evening filled with confidence that in 2022, we are going to take back the House (of Representatives) and we are going to reclaim the Senate. And then in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House,” he added, though he did not specify whether he intends to run for the presidency in 2024.
In a recent appearance on the podcast of his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, the former president called on his supporters to “have hope.”
“You do have hope, that I can tell you,” Trump said. “You do have hope. We love our country — this country. We all owe a lot to our country but now we have to help our country.”
Trump has spent the 2-1/2 months since his chaotic exit from the White House considering requests from 2022 candidates for his endorsement and has been giving them his blessing based on whether they support him and his agenda or not.
Last month, during a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump teased a 2024 run, and said of the Democrats, “Actually, as you know they just lost the White House…who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”
He has said any talk of his own plans – the Constitution gives him the right to seek another four-year term – should wait until after the November 2022 elections.