Trump calls Mitch McConnell a 'pawn for the Democrats' and said he must be replaced as Senate leader after he criticized GOP candidates

Trump calls Mitch McConnell a 'pawn for the Democrats' and said he must be replaced as Senate leader after he criticized GOP candidates
Trump speaks during Pennsylvania rally, Mitch McConnell
Former President Donald Trump (L) speaks during Pennsylvania rally on May 6, 2022. Mitch McConnell (R) is pictured on May 3, 2022.Getty Images
  • Trump lambasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after his remarks on the GOP Senate races.

  • Trump claimed McConnell and his wife's business ties in China are inappropriate.

  • The former president also called for the longtime GOP Senate leader to be replaced.

Former President Donald Trump has continued to attack Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for a new Senate Republican leader.

"The Democrats have Mitch McConnell and his lovely wife, Elaine 'Coco' Chao, over a barrel," Trump said in a statement sent by his PAC Save America.

His remarks came after McConnell said last week the GOP may have a tough time in Senate races in the midterm elections this fall.

"I think there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate," McConnell said on Thursday last week, according to NBC News reporter Frank Thorp V. "Senate races are just different, they're statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome."

Trump's statement on Wednesday accused McConnell of being a "pawn for the Democrats."

"Mitch McConnell is not an Opposition Leader, he is a pawn for the Democrats to get whatever they want. He is afraid of them, and will not do what has to be done. A new Republican Leader in the Senate should be picked immediately!" Trump said.

It's unclear if Republicans in the Senate will heed Trump's calls for McConnell to be replaced. The longtime Kentucky Senator has led his party in the chamber since 2007, making him the longest-serving Republican leader in Senate history.

But Trump has successfully wielded his power to remove GOP Congressional leadership before. In May 2021, Rep. Liz Cheney was ousted from her role as the number three Republican in the House after drawing Trump's ire. Cheney blamed Trump for the January 6 Capitol riot and ignored pressure to stop talking about the insurrection and the 2020 election lies. Rep. Elise Stefanik, who Trump had praised after she embraced his election claims, replaced her as House Republican Conference Chair.

Trump also went after McConnell on Saturday, criticizing him for suggesting GOP Senate candidates were weak and saying he should focus on helping them get elected and spend "less time helping his crazy wife and family get rich on China."

Chao previously served as Trump's Transportation Secretary but quickly resigned after the Capitol riot. She also is believed to have spoken with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack.

McConnell and Chao have business ties in China — a shipping company owned by Chao's family that moves goods to and from the region. A Transportation Department watchdog last year accused Chao of using resources from the agency to propel her family's business.

Trump, citing an article from the right-leaning outlet The Federalist, said McConnell and Chao "will never be prosecuted" because of the former's status as Senate Minority Leader.

McConnell has said he will still support a 2024 presidential run from Trump despite his trash-talking.

McConnell did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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