The death of conservative talk radio host and broadcasting legend Rush Limbaugh prompted former President Trump on Wednesday to give his first public interview since leaving office. Aside from mourning the loss of the conservative standard-bearer, the billionaire former president ripped the GOP establishment for failing to support him after the election.
According to Trump, Limbaugh shared the former president's belief that he was the true winner of the 2020 presidential election. Trump's legal challenges to the results of the election went nowhere in the courts.
"Rush felt that way strongly. And many people do, many professionals do. And I don’t think that could have happened to a Democrat, you would have had riots going on all over the place," the former president argued. "But Rush felt we won and he was quite angry about it, quite angry."
"I was disappointed by voter tabulation," Trump continued. "I think it’s disgraceful what happened. We were like a Third World country on election night with the closing down of the centers and all of the things that happened later. And he was furious at it, and many people are furious. You don’t know how angry this country is, and people were furious."
The same day the Senate acquitted Trump on the charge of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor to blast the former president.
"There is no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," McConnell argued. "No question about it."
"The people who stormed this building believed that they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president," McConnell continued. "And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth."
Trump responded to the Kentucky senator in a statement, calling McConnell "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack." Trump said McConnell would not have won his re-election without the former president's endorsement.
"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in the statement.
The extent of Trump's role and influence over the GOP going forward remains to be seen.