It was supposed to be a unifying weekend for the Republican Party featuring former President Trump. Ahead of the invitation-only speech to top donors at Trump’s new home inside his Mar-a-Lago resort, the former president’s advisers said he would emphasize his commitment to his party. But Trump veered sharply from prepared remarks Saturday night and instead slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “stone-cold loser” and mocked McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who was Trump’s transportation secretary, per the AP. Trump also said he was “disappointed” in his vice president, Mike Pence, and used a profanity in assessing McConnell, according to multiple people in attendance. He said McConnell had not thanked him properly for putting Chao, who was labor secretary under President George W. Bush, in his Cabinet.
McConnell's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday. Trump's words left some attendees feeling uncomfortable. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich did not defend Trump as he left Palm Beach on Sunday. “We are much better off if we keep focusing on the Democrats. Period,” Gingrich said. The new tension between Trump and establishment-minded Republican leaders comes as GOP officials are trying to play down an internal feud over his role in the party, his commitment to Republican fundraising, and his plans for 2024. Trump is also continuing to insist that the last election was “stolen” from him, repeating false claims that Joe Biden won the election only because of voter fraud.
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