Donald Trump recently spoke with senators and allies about potentially replacing Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who the former president said is “very bad for the Republican Party,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
According to the Journal, Trump didn’t mention whether he was recruiting potential challengers against McConnell, who represents Kentucky in the Senate. But the former president said that Republican senators should remove McConnell from the leadership position.
“They ought to,” Trump said, the newspaper reported. “I think he’s very bad for the Republican Party.”
According to some Republicans interviewed by the Journal, ousting McConnell seems unlikely to occur.
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told the publication that he doesn’t “realistically see that happening.” Additionally, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said McConnell was needed for Trump’s legislative achievements, but added that the former president is unlikely to stop attacking the Senate Minority Leader.
The feud between Trump and McConnell has long been intensifying as it threatens to break the GOP as Republicans try to regain control of Congress next year.
In August, Trump branded McConnell as the “most overrated man in politics” after the Senate Minority Leader voted for passing the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. That month, 18 Republicans said yes to the bill in a 67-27 vote that including Senators Bill Cassidy and Mitt Romney.
“I have quietly said for years that Mitch McConnell is the most overrated man in politics— now I don’t have to be quiet anymore. He is working so hard to give Biden a victory, now they’ll go for the big one, including the biggest tax increases in the history of our Country,” Trump said at the time.
Trump also attacked the GOP leader in July, pointing that McConnell is a weak politician standing in the way of the Republican Party’s progress.
The criticism came as part of the former president’s interview with Vanity Fair where he spoke about how he tried to convince McConnell to ditch the filibuster when the Republicans had the majority.
“He’s a stupid person. I don’t think he’s smart enough, Trump said during the interview. “I tried to convince Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster, to terminate it so that we would get everything, and he was a knucklehead and he didn’t do it.”
McConnell had spoken out against Trump on February 13 after the Senate acquitted the former president in his impeachment trial over his alleged role in the January 6 Capitol riot.
“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said on the Senate floor following the vote. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”
Newsweek reached out to McConnell for comment, but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.