Showing his preference for combat with Democrats over collaboration, former President Donald Trump attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over the Kentucky Republican’s efforts to work with Senate Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
McConnell and Trump developed a working partnership during Trump’s years in the White House, but the wheels fell off after the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion, when McConnell had harsh words for Trump.
Since then, the former president has repeatedly questioned McConnell’s leadership and tactics, saying the senator does not provide the type of fiery opposition to Democrats he thinks should be a hallmark of the Republican Party.
His latest salvo was triggered by a deal McConnell struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York to pass a temporary increase in the debt ceiling. Prior to the deal that raised the debt ceiling by $480 billion, America was looking at being unable to borrow money and keep the government running past Oct. 18. The deal now puts that off until December.
Trump had spoken out against the deal even before it was passed.
“Looks like Mitch McConnell is folding to the Democrats, again. He’s got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it’s time to play the hand. Don’t let them destroy our Country” the former president said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the end, 11 Republican senators joined the 50 Democrats to end debate on the bill and enable the stopgap measure to pass Thursday night, according to NBC News.
Trump said that the lost opportunity to punish Democrats by making them own the debt increase was another sign that change is needed.
“The Republican Senate needs new leadership,” the former president said Thursday on the Fox News show “Hannity.”
Should Mitch McConnell be replaced as the leader of Senate Republicans?
“Mitch is not the guy, not the right guy, he’s not doing the job,” he said. “He gave [the Democrats] a lifeline – it’s more than a lifeline, he gave them so much time now to figure out what to do because they were in a real big bind; they wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
“He had the weapon and he was unable to use it. And it’s a shame. It’s a shame.”
He added, “That was not a good thing that happened today. He made a big mistake.”
Trump was not alone.
“I don’t understand why we as Republicans are folding here,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, according to The Washington Post. “This is a complete capitulation.”
“I believe it was a mistake to offer this deal,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said.
“Schumer was on the verge of surrender. And unfortunately, the deal that was put on the table was a lifeline for Schumer,” Cruz said.
What did Mitch McConnell get in exchange for extending the debt limit?
And the answer is: nothing.
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) October 7, 2021
Podcast host and former White House strategist Steve Bannon said McConnell “caved.”
“This is what you get when you have hapless, feckless leadership,” Bannon said Wednesday on “War Room.”
Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump aide who joined Bannon on the podcast, also spoke out against the minority leader.
“This makes me think: Does Mitch McConnell care more about opposing the Democrats or opposing the MAGA movement, opposing the MAGA posse, opposing Donald J. Trump?” Epshteyn said. “Because that’s what this is all about.”