Trump was warned his war with Mitch McConnell could backfire, report says, but wants to go ahead anyway to boost his TV ratings

  • Donald Trump is said to be keen on attacking Mitch McConnell because it could make great TV. 
  • A report from The Washington Post cited sources familiar with Trump’s thinking.
  • It said Trump was warned that the dispute could harm him, but seemed not to mind.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former president Donald Trump has told aides that he believes that going to war with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell win him positive TV coverage, despite being warned of the political cost, The Washington Post reported.

According to the report, aides warned Trump that escalating his dispute with McConnell would do neither man any favors. 

The Post, which cited sources close to the former president, said Trump “has told people that taking on McConnell will be popular with his supporters and will drive favorable TV coverage.”

A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Trump has long prized TV ratings above conventional political goals, often boasting of his ratings during his term in office and blocking out chunks of his day to watch cable TV coverage of his administration. 

In recent weeks tensions between Trump and McConnell have escalated, ramping up dramatically on Tuesday when Trump called McConnell a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.”

McConnell was once an ally of Trump, but turned against the president in the wake of the Capitol riot, which he blamed Trump for inflaming.

McConnell did not vote to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection in the impeachment trial that followed. However, he defended Trump on the narrow grounds that impeachment should only apply to sitting presidents.

He did not seek to defend Trump’s actions, and in statements and interviews has continued to blame Trump for the violence.

Some Republicans fear the dispute could could damage the Republican Party’s chances of regaining control of Congress in the 2022 mid-terms.

Trump in his Tuesday statement said he would back candidates loyal to him in primary elections to unseat established Republicans, a clear threat to McConnell and other longstanding members of Congress.

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