You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

Donald Trump goes after Pence, McConnell in speech to party donors

Trump shattered two days of relative peace in his closing remarks to the GOP's top donors when he insulted the party's Senate leader and his wife

Topics
Donald Trump | Mike Pence | Mitch McConnell

AP  |  Palm Beach 

Photo: Bloomberg

It was supposed to be a unifying weekend for a Republican Party at war with itself over former President Donald Trump's divisive leadership. But Trump himself shattered two days of relative peace in his closing remarks to the GOP's top donors when he insulted the party's Senate leader and his wife.

Ahead of the invitation-only speech at Trump's new home inside his Mar-a-Lago resort, the former president's advisers said he would emphasise his commitment to his party and Republican unity.

Trump veered sharply from prepared remarks Saturday night and instead slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a stone-cold loser and mocked McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, who was Trump's transportation secretary.

Trump also said he was disappointed in his vice president, Mike Pence, and used a profanity in assessing McConnell, according to multiple people in attendance who were not authorized to publicly discuss what was said in a private session. He said McConnell had not thanked him properly for putting Chao, who was labor secretary under President George W. Bush, in his Cabinet.

McConnell's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Trump's words left some attendees feeling uncomfortable.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich did not defend Trump as he left Palm Beach on Sunday.

We are much better off if we keep focusing on the Democrats. Period, Gingrich said.

Saturday's speech was the final address of the Republican National Committee's weekend donor summit in Palm Beach. Most of the RNC's closed-door gathering was held at a luxury hotel a few miles away from Mar-a-Lago; attendees were bused to Trump's club for his remarks.

While a significant faction of the Republican Party hopes to move past Trump's divisive leadership, the location of the event and the former president's prominent speaking slot suggests that the GOP, at least for now, is not ready to replace Trump as its undisputed leader and chief fundraiser.

Ahead of his latest attack on fellow Republicans, Trump's team reported that his remarks were intended to reinforce his continued leadership role in Republican affairs, a sharp break from past presidents.

Saturday's speech will be welcomed words to the Republican donors visiting Mar-a-Lago to hear directly from President Trump, Trump adviser Jason Miller said.

Palm Beach is the new political power center, and President Trump is the Republican Party's best messenger.

The new tension between Trump and establishment-minded Republican leaders comes as GOP officials are trying to play down an internal feud over his role in the party, his commitment to Republican fundraising and his plans for 2024. Trump is also continuing to insist that the last election was stolen from him, repeating false claims that Joe Biden won the election only because of voter fraud.

Such claims ultimately fuelled the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

McConnell and Chao have been particularly critical of Trump's role in encouraging the insurrection; Chao resigned her post in protest.

Pence, meanwhile, presided over a congressional session that certified Biden's election victory over Trump.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was among 10 House Republicans who joined every Democrat in voting to impeach Trump for inspiring the January 6 attack.

Seven Republican senators later voted to convict Trump, even after he had left office.

The former president is using the same language that he knows provoked violence on January 6.

As a party, we need to be focused on the future, we need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection, Cheney told CBS' Face the Nation.

Trump and his allies have already promised to fuel primary challenges against Cheney and those Republicans who supported his impeachment.

And while the Republican National Committee signalled its commitment to Trump by hosting its spring donor summit at his doorstep, Trump's commitment to the GOP is far from certain.

Earlier in the year, he raised the possibility of creating a new political party. Just a month ago, Trump's political action committee sent letters to the RNC and others asking them to immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump's name, image, and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, April 12 2021. 06:56 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.