Mitch McConnell: who is the Republican politician, what did Donald Trump say about him - and what does GOP mean?
Former US president Donald Trump lashed out at veteran Senator in his first statement since he was succeeded by Joe Biden in the White House – and McConnell’s response
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell plans to ignore Donald Trump and laughed off the former US president's scathing personal attack, according to reports.
Mr McConnell found himself on the receiving end of a Mr Trump outburst in which the ex-president called his former aide “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack”.
Mr Trump’s lengthy statement, which has exposed an apparent internal rift in the Republican party, come following the conclusion of his impeachment trial in the US Senate.
Mr Trump avoided conviction of the impeachment charge of incitement of insurrection after making a speech to supporters prior to the riots on the US Capitol.
Political veteran Mr McConnell voted to acquit Mr Trump during the trial but accused the former president of being “morally responsible” for the 6 January 2020 attack.
Who is Mitch McConnell?
Kentucky politician Mr McConnell has spent more than 36 years in public office, since he was first elected to the Senate in 1984.
Mr McConnell, who is married to Mr Trump’s former secretary of transportation Elaine Chao, has a law degree from the University of Kentucky.
He attended the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr gave his 'I have a Dream' speech, and soon found his way into politics.
Though he started off his political career as a moderate Republican, the father-of-three has more recently been known for his obstructive nature.
He was the Senate Majority leader from January 2015 to January 2021, meaning he also oversaw Mr Trump’s first impeachment for an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Mr McConnell said that process would not lead to the removal of then-president Mr Trump from office and he voted to acquit the former US leader at his second impeachment trial.
However, he maintained that Mr Trump was to blame for the violence his supporters unleashed on the US Capitol on 6 January following the conclusion of the trial in February.
What did Mitch McConnell say about Donald Trump?
Mr Trump received 57 votes in favour of his impeachment charges of inciting insurrection on the US Capitol, the trial required a two-thirds majority from the 100 senators to convict.
Following the Senate impeachment trial, Mr McConnell said: “They (Mr Trump’s supporters) did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth because he was angry he had lost an election.
“Former president Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
Why did Mitch McConnell vote to acquit Donald Trump at the impeachment trial?
Mr McConnell’s reasons for voting to acquit Mr Trump appear to be based around the wording associated behind the reasons as to why an impeachment trial should take place.
In delivering his conclusion, Mr McConnell said: “Article II, Section 4 must have force. It tells us the President, Vice President, and civil officers may be impeached and convicted. Donald Trump is no longer the president.
“Clearly, that mandatory sentence cannot be applied to somebody who has left office.
“The entire process revolves around removal. If removal becomes impossible, conviction becomes insensible.”
What has Donald Trump said about Mitch McConnell?
Mr Trump responded to these comments in his most significant public statement since he left the White House on 20 January, prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our country,” said Mr Trump.
And added: “McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse.”
Mr Trump also said the Republican Party can “never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Senator Mitch McConnell at its helm”.
Following his acquittal, Mr Trump is free to run for president in 2024.
What has Mitch McConnell said in response to Donald Trump’s statement?
According to CNN’s congressional correspondent Manu Raju, Mr McConnell has no plans to respond to Mr Trump’s outburst, saying: “Mitch McConnell actually laughed about Donald Trump’s statement when he first saw this. Mitch McConnell has no plans to respond. In fact, I’m told by multiple sources that he plans to ignore Donald Trump altogether as he tries to navigate the post-Trump era.”
What does the GOP mean?
GOP stands for Grand Old Party - a traditional nickname for the Republican Party. The term originated in 1875 in the Congressional Record, referring to the party associated with the successful military defense of the Union as "this gallant old party".