Former President Donald Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of "wasting money" in the Alabama Senate primary, further exposing the rift between the two wings of the Republican Party.
Trump said incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby's endorsement of Katie Boyd Britt to become his successor, along with McConnell's alleged funneling of money to Britt, is "absolutely outrageous."
"She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants," Trump said of Britt in a Saturday night tweetmail, calling on Alabamians to vote for Rep. Mo Brooks because "he stands for America First, and everything Alabama wants, [and] he also has my Complete and Total Endorsement."
Britt said that Trump's statement is "a reaction to the incredible momentum that continues to build for our campaign."
"I don’t need anyone else to fight my battles, and as Alabama's next U.S. Senator, I won't be a rubber stamp for anyone," Britt wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner, adding that Brooks is "obviously panicked; he's been in elected office for 40 years, but the people of Alabama are eager for a real conservative choice and someone who's going to bring change to D.C. My opponent lost statewide in 2006. He lost again statewide in 2017. And he's going to lose in 2022, because our Alabama First team is on the road to victory."
Britt, who served as Shelby's former chief of staff, entered the race for the open seat in early June and soon earned the backing of the incumbent senator, who told Politico that she is "probably the best-qualified candidate to come along in a long time."
Brooks, a Trump loyalist who was among the first to object to the Electoral College results that certified President Joe Biden as the victor of the 2020 presidential contest, gained Trump's support shortly after entering the race to replace Shelby.
Representatives for Shelby and McConnell did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
Trump and McConnell have offered divergent approaches to the 2022 midterm elections. While the Senate minority leader has focused on supporting incumbents, Trump has preferred to endorse those loyal to his movement, particularly in the wake of his second impeachment trial.
Following the Jan. 6 siege of Capitol Hill, 10 Republicans joined all Democrats in the House to impeach Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection. Though Trump was acquitted in the Senate, seven Republicans joined all Democratic senators in voting to convict him, and the perceived slight by these GOP members has attracted Trump's ire ever since.
Trump, who has enjoyed enduring popularity with the GOP base since his departure from office, has released several revenge endorsements in recent months, with many of them, such as Max Miller in Ohio, mounting primary challenges to incumbents who voted in favor of Trump's impeachment. Trump also endorsed Frank Eathorne, a primary challenger to Rep. Liz Cheney, whom he called "incompetent" following her vote to impeach him, which in turn led to her ouster from GOP leadership.
McConnell has instead opted to support his Senate colleagues, with the president of the Senate Leadership Fund (a McConnell-aligned super PAC) saying of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (who faces a stiff primary challenge from a Trump-endorsed opponent after her vote to convict the former president): "Many politicians put themselves first, but Lisa Murkowski always puts Alaska first."
"McConnell will always stick up for his incumbents," a top GOP Senate strategist said.
Trump was previously impeached along mostly party lines on two Ukraine-related charges in 2019 before he was acquitted in the GOP-led Senate.
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Original Author: Carly Roman
Original Location: Trump says McConnell 'wasting money' on Alabama Senate primary