It seems safe to say that given his unyielding pursuit of conservative judges and tax breaks for the wealthy, plus his near-pathological delight in ruining anything resembling progress for the left, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of the — if not the — most consequential Republican lawmakers of the past half-century at least. In fact, the only other Republican who could potentially challenge McConnell's claim is former President Donald Trump, a political neophyte who managed to reshape the GOP's base in his own, lumpen, baked-potato image in just a few short years.
It's understandable, then, that Trump and McConnell — while still ostensible operating on the "same side" — would inevitably be set on a collision course toward one another, particularly given the former's fundamental need for total obsequiousness from everyone he's ever met. That McConnell dared have an agenda that deviates ever so slightly from his own is simply anathema to a megalomaniac like Trump, whose "very good brain" seems best suited for holding grudges and not much else.
While Trump has made no secret of his dislike for McConnell over what he sees as the senator's unforgivable slights against him (which include shielding him from an impeachment conviction and locking in a sweet tax deal for him and his buddies, I guess?), the former president has recently upped the ante in this incredibly stupid feud. That's right: A new report suggests Trump is actively working to unseat the man who's delivered the Republicans their biggest legislative victories in years.
Per The Wall Street Journal, Trump has recently begun polling GOP senators and notables to gauge interest on who — if anyone — might want to run against McConnell for his party's leadership. Because with midterms coming up, and Republicans in good condition to retake one, if not both houses of Congress, when better to launch a petty internecine attack that could cripple the GOP's ability to organize and execute its legislative priorities?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Republican senators apparently aren't all that eager to wade into this deeply unnecessary feud. "I'm not going to get in that fight," Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville told the Journal. Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, when asked if Trump's plan had any viability, said, "I just don't realistically see that happening."
Trump, who has spent his post-presidency trying to dictate conservative politics from his estates in Florida and New Jersey, nevertheless seems committed to riding his spite-powered train to the end of the track, regardless of where that end might be. He's already endorsed a slate of GOP candidates outside the party's preferred picks, and doesn't show any sign of letting up on McConnell anytime soon.
Even South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, arguably the most sycophantic of Trump's upper-chamber bootlickers, seemed resigned to the widening schism, opting to not pick sides and instead close his eyes and pretend like everything is fine. Asked by the Journal if he'd given Trump any advice for how best to deal with McConnell, Graham said simply, "Yeah, [I told him] 'Let's focus on winning in 2022."
Good luck, fellas!