Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday bragged to fellow Republicans that they had outraised former President Donald Trump last year, after the former president took aim at the party’s fundraising committees in an effort to put himself at the head of the conservative movement’s financial future.
The comments, first reported by the New York Times, came during a weekly party lunch, after the former president suggested recently that Republicans should donate only to his political action committee and website and not to the traditional GOP fundraising organizations.
Over the weekend Trump also sent cease-and-desist letters to at least three Republican organizations to stop fundraising off his name and likeness.
McConnell’s comments which were described to the Times by people briefed on the meeting followed a presentation by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, one of the organizations that was sent a threatening legal notice by Trump.
Trump has repeatedly suggested in recent weeks that he would use donations to seek revenge on Republicans who have crossed him, likely including a number of the incumbent Republicans who would presumably be backed by the NRSC.
“Get rid of them all,” Trump said of his critics during an address at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month.
On Wednesday, sources told the Times that McConnell said several times that the Senate Leadership Fund had outraised Trump’s super PAC in 2020.
According to the Times, McConnell shared fundraising data he had compiled on small cards that showed the totals raised by the Senate Republican super PAC and for the two Georgia Senate races that cost the party its majority. “Total: $612+ million.”
“In 3 cycles: nearly $1 billion,” the card said. The former president’s standing as a fundraiser was listed below that — “Trump: $148+ million,” the card read, referring to America First, the group that was formed to support Trump in 2020.
The implication that Trump was responsible for a loss of the Senate majority was rejected by Trump adviser Jason Miller who suggested McConnell’s unwillingness to support a more generous stimulus bill bore responsibility for the runoff losses in Georgia.
“A better side-by-side comparison would be the $2,000 stimulus checks that the Democrat candidates promised in Georgia versus the $600 stimulus checks that the Republicans offered, which led to us losing both seats,” Miller said. “Just think, if we had done that one thing differently, Republicans would be in control of the Senate right now.”
Following the legal notices stunt, Trump on Monday issued a statement condemning “RINOs” and again urging people to donate to his Save America PAC instead. He later walked back the statement but only slightly, saying that he supported Republican committees but adamantly opposed RINOs — effectively another name for anyone who has expressed opposition to him.