Tampa Bay Times



At a GOP gathering at his Mar-a-Lago Club, the former president rages at the Kentucky Republican and the outcome of the 2020 election.

Former President Donald Trump called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “dumb son of a bitch” as he used a Saturday night speech to Republican­s to blame him for not helping overturn the 2020 election and reiterated assertions that he won the November contest.

Trump, speaking to a Republican National Committee gathering at his Mara-Lago Club in Palm Beach, excoriated a number of Republican­s even as he publicly called for party unity — focusing on those who voted to convict him in impeachmen­t proceeding­s. But he saved his sharpest vitriol for the Kentucky Republican.

“If that were (Senate Majority Leader Chuck) Schumer instead of this dumb son of a bitch Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen. They would have fought it,” he said of the certifying of the election on Jan. 6, the day his supporters led an insurrecti­on at the Capitol to block Joe Biden’s formal victory.

Trump spent much of the speech, with many senators in the room, lashing into his former ally in personal terms, often to cheers from the party’s top donors. He claimed that he won the Senate election for McConnell in Kentucky and attacked McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who served as Trump’s transporta­tion secretary.

“I hired his wife. Did he ever say thank you?” Trump said. He then mocked Chao for resigning in response to the Jan. 6 events and Trump’s behavior that day.

“She suffered so greatly,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He later called McConnell a “stone cold loser.” A spokesman for McConnell could not immediatel­y be reached.

The speech was light on his actual presidency, which some aides had wanted him to address, and delivered more of a familiar litany of grievances that seemed to animate the crowd.

He did not directly address his 2024 plans — other than to express confidence about the Republican nominee winning — an attendee said, preferring instead to look back at the last election.

He reiterated many of his claims soon after beginning his remarks and dove into particular states in detail, such as Georgia and Pennsylvan­ia, continuing to say he won them and attacking politician­s such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican. He spoke for about an hour, according to an attendee, and bragged that he had tossed his prepared and “boring” speech.

He claimed that most Democrats also believe he won but just won’t say so out loud, an attendee said.

Trump said the crowd at his rally preceding the Capitol attack was so large — claiming that “some people say it was over a million people”— because supporters were upset about fraud and said he was “disappoint­ed” in Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the election later that day. He expressed no regret about his actions on that day, nor about those of the Capitol rioters.

“I wish that Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatur­es ... I like him so much. I was so disappoint­ed,” Trump said.

The Republican Party paid more than $100,000 to the former president’s club to hold the event there, with the rest of the festivitie­s at the nearby Four Seasons resort. McConnell was not there, and he has not spoken to Trump in months, telling advisers he never plans to speak to him again.

 ??  ?? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
 ??  ?? Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump

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