by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Isaac Schorr of National Review Online assesses the political impact of the latest verbal attack from the 45th president.
When Donald Trump unloaded on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over the weekend, it harkened back to the glory days of his presidency, when his bombastic speeches would generate headlines and dominate the news cycle.
Trump’s remarks came after a series of months in which he has been relatively quiet. Since January 20, Trump has granted the occasional interview, made the occasional speech, and issued the occasional statement — a roundabout way of getting past the social-media bans enacted after the January 6 Capitol riot. But by and large, Trump has been a peripheral figure since leaving office. He doesn’t dominate the headlines, he hasn’t embraced the “leader of the opposition” role many thought he might, and he hasn’t announced a 2024 candidacy.
While it’s impossible to say right now if Trump will make a third attempt at the White House, he does not have to run in order to maintain influence. He has already made it clear that playing kingmaker in races big and small seems to be of great interest to him. At the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, Trump implored the crowd to donate to his Save America PAC. And he continues to take aim at figures he believes betrayed him in the aftermath of his election defeat.
Then came this weekend, when at the Republican National Committee meeting, Trump blasted GOP leaders who didn’t support his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He called McConnell a “dumb son of a b****” and said of his own vice president, “I wish that Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatures.”
The message is clear: With both his money and his mouth, Trump intends on shaping the direction of the party.