Former President Donald Trump has continued his efforts to attack the GOP establishment and seek revenge against those who have criticized him.
Suddenly without a Twitter feed and the presidential bully pulpit, Trump has been forced to issue email statements to go after his foes and maintain his relevancy. On Thursday, Trump lashed out at comments that both held him responsible for Republicans losing the Senate majority in January, and separate remarks that knocked his recent address at the Conservative Political Action Conference as “stale.”
Trump attacked the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal op-ed page in a Thursday statement that first accused the paper of fighting for “globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars that favor other countries and sell out our great American workers.”
But really, his aim was directed at the publication for suggesting he had cost Republicans the majority in the Senate.
Trump insisted in the Thursday statement that the WSJ had defended “RINOS that have so badly hurt the Republican Party.”
The attack is part of a broader war that Trump has waged against the GOP establishment, seeking to oust or deliver a primary challenge to any Republican lawmaker who has crossed him as he fended off a second Senate impeachment trial last month.
“That’s where they are and that’s where they will always be. Fortunately, nobody cares much about The Wall Street Journal editorial anymore,” Trump said in the statement released by his Save America PAC.
Of course, no one cares about establishment newspaper recognition more than Trump.
The editorial board fired back at Trump in an op-ed published Thursday evening, saying that Trump, also known as “the most famous resident of Mar-a-Lago,” was ruffled by the editorial board’s assertion that the former president was the primary reason that Republicans lost two Georgia Senate races in January and by extension Senate majority.
“Mr. Trump refuses to take responsibility for those defeats, contrary to all evidence,” WSJ editorial board members wrote.
In his statement, Trump put up the long-debunked defense that he had been a victim of “a rigged election” that angered Georgia voters. He further blamed Republican leaders in the Peach State, including Gov. Brian Kemp (R) — who he had repeatedly scapegoated in the aftermath of the election — for failing to do his bidding to overturn elections in the state.
The former president also attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who he called “the most unpopular politician in the country,” crediting his own endorsement of McConnell as the reason for McConnell holding onto his Senate seat.
The WSJ editorial board shredded the attack of McConnell in addition to a series of false claims Trump made, balking at fingers pointed in his direction for the senators’ defeat.
“In the single Trump term, Republicans lost the House, White House and finally the Senate,” the editorial board wrote. “How can it be that everyone other than the most prominent Republican in the country is responsible for victories but not the defeats that have left Republicans in the wilderness?”
In a separate statement, Trump directed his fury at GOP strategist Karl Rove, who frequents Fox News and had criticized Trump’s CPAC speech for being full of vengeful grievances but offering little vision for the conservative movement.
“There was no forward-looking agenda, simply a recitation of his greatest hits. People like fresh material. Repetition is useful to a point, but it grows stale,” Rove had said in a criticism of Trump’s much-anticipated address on Sunday.
Trump’s retort — decrying Rove as “a RINO of the highest order” — appeared to give credence to the GOP strategist’s comment regarding the former president’s stale comebacks.
Rove quickly dismissed Trump’s attacks in a statement obtained by Reuters, saying: “I’ve been called a lot of things in my career, but never a RINO.”
Rove, now 70, noted that he has voted for every Republican presidential candidate since he became a voter at age 18.
“I’ll continue to use my whiteboard and voice to call balls and strikes,” he added.