May 15, 2021

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Trump curses McConnell’s name during rant at Republican donor event – NBC News

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Former President Donald Trump again lashed out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling the top Republican a “dumb son of a b—-” and a “stone cold loser” amid a lengthy rant at a Republican donor event Saturday night in which he also reiterated his false claims of electoral victory last fall.

Trump, according to a source familiar with his remarks, said “a real leader” never would have accepted the electoral results. That narrative, which Trump spun for months after losing last fall, led to the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and his second impeachment trial soon after.

Rioters inside the Capitol could be heard in one video chanting “hang Mike Pence” and had erected a gallows outside the building. Trump also said Saturday that he was “disappointed” his former vice president affirmed the Electoral College votes.

“If that were [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer instead of this dumb son of a b—- Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen,” Trump said. “They would have fought it.”

After the impeachment trial, McConnell excoriated Trump for his conduct, though he did not vote to convict him. Soon after, Trump released a lengthy statement blasting McConnell as “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.”

Days later, McConnell said he would back Trump for president if he were the 2024 GOP nominee. At roughly the same time, Trump began endorsing GOP senators who criticized his conduct around the riot, like Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and John Boozman, R-Ark., for reelection.

Trump addressed the crowd of Republican donors at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida for roughly an hour. His speech was the only portion of the Republican National Committee donor retreat that took place there, as other events were held at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach. Last month, Trump’s attorneys asked the RNC, National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee to stop using his name and likeness to fundraise as he pushed donors to give directly to his committee.

Speaking Saturday, Trump also mocked former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who resigned from his administration after the riot and is married to McConnell.”

“I hired his wife. Did he ever say thank you?” Trump said, adding sarcastically on her decision to resign after Jan. 6: “She suffered so greatly.”

While attacking McConnell and other Republicans in his address, particularly those who voted against him in the most recent impeachment proceedings, Trump also called for party unity.

In saying he was “so disappointed” with Pence for affirming President Joe Biden’s victory, Trump added, “I like him so much.”

He praised attendees of his “Save America” rally on Jan. 6 — which preceded the Capitol riot.

Addressing the pandemic, the former president said he was not getting enough credit for his administration overseeing the development of the vaccines and suggested they be called the “Trumpcine.”

He repeated his longtime mockery of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for his errant opening pitch at a Washington Nationals game last summer and for his pandemic analysis and advice, saying Fauci is, “so full of crap.”

Representatives for Trump, Pence and McConnell did not immediately return requests for comment from NBC News.

Speaking with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Trump “is using the same language that he knows provoked violence on Jan. 6.”

“As a party, we need to be focused on the future. We need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection,” said Cheney, who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his conduct around the riot.

“And I think it’s very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution and of who we are as Americans is the rule of law. It’s the judicial process,” she continued. “The election wasn’t stolen. There was a judicial process in place. If you attack the judicial process and you attack the rule of law you’re not defending the Constitution, you’re at war with the Constitution.”

Addressing Trump’s remarks about McConnell, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told “Fox News Sunday” he believes “a lot of that rhetoric is part of the style and tone that comes with the former president.”

“But I think he and Mitch McConnell have a common goal,” said Thune, the second-highest ranking Senate Republican. “And that is, getting the majority back in 2022 and hopefully in the end that will be the thing that unites us.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who Trump lambasted last week after he vetoed an anti-transgender healthcare bill, said in response to the former president’s Saturday commentary that, “anything that’s divisive is a concern and is not helpful for us fighting the battles in Washington and at the state level.”

“In some ways, it’s not a big deal, what he said,” Hutchinson added. “But, at the same time, whenever it draws attention, we don’t need that. We need unity. We need to be focused together. We have slim majorities — or slim numbers in Washington, and we have got battles to fight. So, we need to get beyond that.”

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