Former US President Donald Trump urged Republican senators Tuesday to dump Mitch McConnell as their leader in the Senate following his withering criticism of the former US president after his impeachment trial.
"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a statement.
"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."
The attack came after McConnell said on Saturday that even though he had voted to acquit Trump at his impeachment trial, the former president was nevertheless "practically and morally responsible" for the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.
In his lengthiest comment yet on politics since exiting the White House on January 20, Trump blamed McConnell for the Republicans' loss of control of the Senate, while taking credit for himself for the party's gains in the House of Representatives.
He also took credit for McConnell winning another six-year term representing Kentucky in the Senate, where the 78-year-old has served since 1984, and wielded hefty power as majority leader over the past six years.
"My only regret is that McConnell 'begged' for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him," Trump said.
"Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly."
Trump threatened to use his continuing popularity among the Republican base to support any Republican candidates -- the next national election is in November 2022 -- who support his agenda.
"Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.
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