New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman appeared on CNN to discuss former President Donald Trump’s Tuesday statement lashing out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), saying that Americans can expect more of the same from Trump going forward.
CNN noted that Trump had written in the statement that “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
Haberman said what was behind Trump’s statement “was that McConnell gave a very, very tough and line-drawing statement about Donald Trump and Donald Trump’s role in the party going forward.”
McConnell’s statement came on Saturday after the Kentucky Republican had voted to acquit Trump on incitement of insurrection.
“He has made clear in an interview with the Wall Street Journal and an op-ed with the Journal that he does not want Trump to be dictating what the party does going in to 2022,” Haberman noted.
Trump’s reaction to McConnell took the form of “childish name-calling” and “insulting,” she said, much like his tweets often read.
“I do think that you are now going to see this divide between the two of them,” Haberman continued, adding that the divide had been growing “for a while since November 3.”
“What that portends for how the party tries its chances to take back the majority in the Senate and the majority in the House in 2022 is a real open question,” she said.
Asked if the situation between Trump and McConnell would worsen, Haberman said for the first time there appears to be “a huge imbalance, where McConnell has a lot more power.” She also noted that Trump can no longer rely on Twitter to go after his rivals and opponents.
Haberman said the rift likely also means that Trump will reenter the political scene more quickly, possibly showing up at CPAC later this month and speaking publicly.
The reporter said the reason she believes Trump is now more likely to turn up at CPAC is because he likely “feels like has to establish more dominance than he felt the need to, based on McConnell’s clear desire to move past him in the party.”
Haberman also noted that Trump “took a shot” at McConnell’s wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “It was a nasty shot,” she said. “And it was a sort of threatening shot about how McConnell is conflicted on China because of his family business ties to China.”
“That’s the kind of ugliness you’re also going to see from Donald Trump going forward,” Haberman said. “Because that’s the only other speed that he knows.”
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