On Wednesday, CNN reported that aides to former President Donald Trump are privately telling him to back down from his escalating attacks and endorsements against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), ahead of a midterm election cycle that could decide whether or not he reclaims the majority.
"Some of his aides have warned him that requiring unequivocal opposition to McConnell to secure or maintain his support is incompatible with his broader objectives — a warning that Trump himself appears to be considering," reported Gabby Orr. "The former President has not rescinded his endorsements of candidates who have stopped short of opposing McConnell and previously earned Trump's support, and he continues to privately consider endorsements for other candidates who have openly mused about reelecting McConnell if they make it into the Senate, according to a person familiar with Trump's thinking."
Though the two worked together closely during his time in office, Trump fell out with McConnell after the latter criticized him for his role in inciting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — even though McConnell never actually voted to convict him in the impeachment trial. He put out statements calling McConnell a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" and a "broken old crow," and endorsed Senate candidates who have said they will not back McConnell for leader.
"Across several other primaries, Republican candidates have also ignored Trump's entreaties for McConnell's ouster," noted the report. "Straddling a desire to earn the former President's support without jeopardizing potential assistance from the McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund later on, they have limited their criticism to veiled barbs at the "establishment" or refuse to even answer questions about McConnell."
Republicans need a net gain of only one seat in the Senate this year to reclaim the majority, although both parties have credible target pickups.
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