Trump-McConnell feud enters new phase

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


It’s appropriate that college football’s rivalry week ended just days ago, as former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have picked up the mantle and resumed their seemingly never-ending feud.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has typically veered away from direct, or even oblique, rhetorical confrontations with Trump, but this week has brought about a new vigor in the long-time senator.

While it would be erroneous to call McConnell’s remarks spirited or heated, a brief statement he made to reporters this week was profound inasmuch as it showed a shift.

As reported by Reuters, McConnell indicated he would not back Trump in 2024 should the former president secure the Republican nomination and predicted, albeit indirectly, that Trump would fail in his reelection bid. Previously, McConnell had indicated he would be willing to give such support.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy, and anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States,” McConnell said. “That would apply to all of the leaders in the party who will be seeking offices.”

McConnell was referring to Trump’s hosting of rapper Ye West and Nick Fuentes, two men who have made controversial statements against Jewish people, for a dinner at Mar-a-Lago.

While West has only recently come under fire for this issue, Fuentes is perhaps only known, to the extent he is known at all, on the national stage for being a white nationalist and having made antisemitic remarks.

Trump has contended he had “never heard of” Fuentes before the meeting — and Fuentes is, by any measure, an obscure name in American politics — but the fact Trump hosted the meeting at all, and at a minimum failed to vet his guests, has proven quite the cudgel for the former president’s detractors on the left and right.

The other guest Ye took to Mar-a-Lago that evening, Milo Yiannopoulos — known in large part for his ability and desire to stir up controversy — said he arranged for Fuentes to attend the dinner in order to make Trump’s “life miserable,” according to NBC News.

“I also wanted to send a message to Trump that he has systematically repeatedly neglected, ignored, [and] abused the people who love him the most, the people who put him in office, and that kind of behavior comes back to bite you in the end,” Yiannopoulos reportedly said.

It’s a definite setback for Trump in his bid to regain the presidency, but, unlike McConnell, Trump has no qualms about direct confrontation.

“Mitch is a loser for our nation and for the Republican Party who would not have been re-elected in Kentucky without my endorsement, which he begged me for because he was going down,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox News. “His well-financed opponent had $93 million ready to spend when I drove him from two points down to 21 points up in a matter of days.”

Trump also reiterated that he was unaware of Fuentes prior to the latter’s recent Mar-A-Lago visit.

“I had never heard of the man — I had no idea what his views were, and they weren’t expressed at the table in our very quick dinner, or it wouldn’t have been accepted,” Trump said.

McConnell and Trump have been at odds, both publicly and behind the scenes, since before Trump became president, but their battle has only intensified since 2020.

Trump has, on numerous occasions, called for McConnell to be removed as Senate leader, and key Trump ally Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) recently attempted to supplant McConnell in the position.

The Kentucky senator has taken a more circuitous route in his efforts to undermine Trump. McConnell was only recently censured by the Alaska GOP for having funneled $5 million into that state’s senate race in support of longtime Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who faced stiff competition from Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka. Murkowski ultimately won reelection.