Washington, Feb 17 (PTI) Donald Trump has launched a scathing personal attack on Mitch McConnell, calling him a 'dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack,' days after the top Republican Senator and former close ally voted to acquit the ex-US president in his second impeachment trial.
McConnell, who led the Senate for years, voted to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial last week. But the 78-year-old Senator from Kentucky then attacked Trump as 'morally responsible' for the deadly US Capitol riot on January 6.
Trump and McConnell -- the two most powerful men in the Republican Party -- have been estranged in recent months after working closely during the former president's four years in office. But things changed after Trump lost the November 3 election to his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
'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 said in the terse statement on Tuesday against the Senate Minority Leader.
'He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our country. 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,' the 74-year-old former president said.
Trump asserted that McConnell's shortcomings had contributed to the Republican Party's loss of the Senate majority.
McConnell's 'lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality' had cost the Republicans control of the Senate following last November's elections, he said.
Trump said the Republican leader 'begged' for his endorsement in his own Senate race, without which the former president claimed McConnell would have lost.
'This is a big moment for our country, and we cannot let it pass by using third rate 'leaders' to dictate our future!' Trump said.
Trump's lashing out at his former ally follows his impeachment by a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives last month for his role inciting the violent riot at the US Capitol, which resulted in the deaths of at least five people, including a police officer.
McConnell sharply criticised Trump in a speech on the Senate floor shortly after the former president was cleared in a 57-43 vote on Saturday, saying the rioters had been 'fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth. Because he was angry he'd lost an election.' 'Former President Trump's actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty,' McConnell said.
'Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,' he added.
But McConnell said Trump was constitutionally ineligible for conviction since the punishment is removal, and Trump was already out of office. McConnell claimed that a verdict before Biden's inauguration on January 20 had been impossible.
Only seven Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to convict Trump. McConnell and 42 other Republicans voted to acquit Trump.
A two-thirds vote in the 100-member Senate was needed to convict the former president. PTI AKJ AKJ