Working to fulfill – at least in part – the Republican Party kingmaker role many suspected he would pursue after leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump is reportedly angling to find a candidate who is ready, willing, and able to mount a serious challenge to current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for the GOP leadership post, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The outlet revealed that Trump has recently initiated conversations with a number of political allies and sitting senators to learn whether there is sufficient interest in challenging McConnell’s perch atop the party.
Trump’s ongoing feud with McConnell took root even before Joe Biden ascended to the Oval Office, and their disagreements extended well beyond allegations that the 2020 election was marred by significant fraud to include a number of policy disagreements, such as the the Senate leader’s support for the $1 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this year.
Though in a recent interview with the WSJ, Trump did not wish to discuss reports that he was actively seeking individuals interested in going head-to-head with McConnell for the leadership role, he did indicate his belief that Republicans in the upper chamber should undertake such activity on their own.
“They ought to. I think he’s very bad for the Republican Party,” the former commander in chief said.
While it appears that few Republicans currently in the Senate are keen on taking part in such an endeavor, that the topic has even been broached may be indicative of power struggles yet to emerge in the coming years.
When asked by the paper to comment, McConnell himself remained mum on the subject, though Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) – himself a staunch Trump supporter – declined to get involved in any plot to unseat the minority leader, saying, “Naw, I’m not going to get in that fight,” adding that the man currently leading the GOP in the Senate “is doing a good job.”
Always ready with a colorful quip to perfectly encapsulate his take on a given situation, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) reportedly told the WSJ that the likelihood of McConnell being booted from his leadership spot was similar to that of a donkey learning to take flight.
Even so, Trump has begun issuing a series of endorsements in key 2022 midterm races, including to candidates who have not officially taken a side in the question of McConnell’s future in leadership, making it quite clear that the battle for party supremacy between establishment candidates and those loyal to the former president has yet to show any sign of abating.