Former President Donald Trump continues to rage over the top Republicans who have criticized him, though some advisors insist that he should target President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders instead, according to people familiar with the matter.
Senator John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, and longtime GOP politician Karl Rove are among the targets of Trump’s anger, these people said.
These people declined to be named in order to speak freely.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller responded to CNBC’s request for comment on the story via email: “Fake news. We are focused on getting the House and Senate back in 2022.”
CNBC had asked which Republicans Trump wanted to target during the intermediate primaries after the former president announced he would support several lead candidates who support his “Make America Great Again” agenda.
Republicans currently hold 20 Senate seats, including four non-running seats that will be available in 2022. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is the only one of the seven Republicans convicted of Trump in his second impeachment process, which is up for re-election next year. The entire house is also at stake.
Trump’s anger at Republicans for criticizing him was most evident in his statement vilifying Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Whom Trump called a “grumpy, grumpy and unsmiling political hack” .
Trump’s remarks came after McConnell, even after acquitting the former president in his second impeachment trial, Trump said he was responsible for the January 6 uprising in Capitol Hill. Trump responded that he intended to support the main candidates in the 2022 midterm elections that stand by his side.
Advisors have told Trump that many Republican voters polled by the former president’s strategists don’t want to see an all-out war in the GOP. Instead, they’d rather see Trump focus his attacks on Biden and top Democrats.
Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told staff he wanted to convince McConnell to look into Trump so the two can settle their differences before halftime, a GOP adviser said. Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., is reportedly planning to meet with Trump at his resort in Mar-a-Lago this weekend to play peacemaker.
Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the NRSC, told CNBC that Scott “is not involved in any mediation. He is focused on the future and winning back the Senate. He spends money every day and talks about the importance of this country to rescue.” stop the insane democratic onslaught on socialism and the loss of freedom and prosperity. “
“I don’t know if he spoke to the chair recently, but we’re not talking about private conversations he has had with other senators,” added Hartline.
McConnell and Scott representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Even so, Trump’s allies are not backing down on the idea that supporting his agenda will help Republicans in the primaries.
“When you know you have the muscles of President Trump behind you, and all of the president’s loyal supporters and even his America First policies, importantly or more importantly, it will be hard to beat,” said Roy Bailey, a Texas businessman and former head of Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, told CNBC.
Rep Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., A staunch defender of Trump in Congress, tweeted that grassroots Republicans would be rejected by the party if they don’t accept the former president’s agenda. Gaetz has called for the overthrow of Republican house manager Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, after she voted for the charges against Trump.
Rove has emerged as the leading Republican critic of Trump, and the former president isn’t happy about that, one person said. Rove, a former senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, recently wrote a comment in the Wall Street Journal defending his longtime ally McConnell and blaming Trump directly for the party’s losses in the two Georgia Senate runoffs.
“Mr. Trump lost those seats in Georgia by campaigning there not because of the need for scrutiny and deliberation for the future Biden administration, but because of his anger over the loss of the presidential election,” Rove wrote on Wednesday.
Trump is also mad at Thune, who can be re-elected next year, another person said. According to FiveThirtyEight data, the South Dakota Republican voted with Trump over 90% of the time. But he was also a vocal critic of Trump regarding the Capitol Hill uprising.
Trump warned in December that Thune would face a major challenge after the Senator said efforts to question the electoral college results would go down “like a dog” in the Senate. The Cook Political Report has raced Thunes as a “solid Republican”.
Following the vote on the president’s acquittal in his impeachment proceedings, Thune said, “What former President Trump did to undermine confidence in our electoral system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable.”
Thune criticized Republican activists in a recent interview with the Associated Press. He said these activists campaigned for the “defeat of culture” by rushing to reprimand GOP lawmakers who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
According to the AP, Thune wants to support candidates “who don’t go out and talk about conspiracies and the like”.
“At the grassroots level there are a lot of people who want to see Trump-like candidates,” he said. “But I think we will look for candidates who are eligible.”