Former President Trump is refusing to let his feud with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) die, instead amplifying it in what GOP strategists suspect is an effort to rev up the GOP base ahead of a 2024 campaign for president.
More than anyone else in politics, McConnell, the Senate minority leader, is emblematic of the Republican establishment in Washington and Trump’s repeated salvos against McConnell appear designed to make it clear to GOP base voters that Trump — despite his four years in the White House — would be the true outsider candidate in a 2024 primary.
Trump has signaled his interest in running again for president in other ways, including supporting the work of the Make America Great Again Action super PAC, which held its first fundraising event at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The former president is framing the 2022 Republican primaries as a choice between his “America First” brand of conservative populism and a party establishment that isn’t entirely in-step with its conservative base.
“It’s the clearest sign he’s running for president,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell of Trump’s repeated attacks on McConnell.
Trump’s latest shot was to rip McConnell for being one of 19 Senate Republicans who voted in August for a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, which the House passed last week, giving President Biden a major win.
“Why is it that Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat Socialist Infrastructure Plan, and induced others in his Party to do likewise, when he was incapable of getting a great Infrastructure Plan wanting to be put forward by me and the Republican Party?” Trump fumed in a statement Tuesday.