Now that the results are in and Republicans suffered historic losses this election cycle while failing to flip the Senate, Trump is trying to blame Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the party’s lackluster performance, according to a report from CNN.
“He isn’t making explicit asks, but he wants to see more Republicans holding Mitch accountable,” a person close to Trump told CNN.
According to CNN sources, in phone calls with allies, Trump has bashed McConnell, claiming he wasted money in races where Republicans faced an uphill battle while ignoring candidates who had a better chance at winning. Trump aides have mentioned Alaska’s Senate race, where the McConnell-aligned super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, spent $5 million attacking Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Kelly Tshibaka, who was challenging incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Tshibaka now leads Murkowski by almost 1.5%, putting her at an advantage going into the upcoming runoff election.
Trump has also attacked McConnell for cutting support to GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters, a Trump pick who lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona.
Steven Law, a former McConnell aide who runs the Senate Leadership Fund, alluded that the blame should go squarely at Trump’s feet. The president hosted a number of rallies for his favored candidates as election day neared, which Law seemed to suggest was a distraction. “Keeping the focus on Joe Biden and Democrats who had voted for inflationary spending and who supported soft on crime policies, those are the priorities,” Law told CNN. “And to the extent that there’s any distraction from that, it diminishes our ability to drive home that argument.”
Trump endorsed more than 20 candidates this election cycle. So far seven have won, but another nine were defeated. Five races remain to be called.