WASHINGTON — Donald Trump continually attacks Mitch McConnell with childish insults, yet with two weeks left before the midterms has spent just a tiny amount on behalf of Republican candidates compared to the Senate GOP leader.
The former president’s Make America Great Again Inc. super PAC has, through Wednesday, reported a total of $8.5 million spent for Republican Senate candidates — barely 4% of the $204.5 million that McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund has spent, according to a HuffPost analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.
If Trump’s PAC continues spending at the rate it did for the first half of October, and even if all that money comes from his Save America “leadership” PAC rather than outside benefactors, Trump would still be left with more than $80 million available for his own personal or political use after the midterms.
Trump’s staff did not respond to HuffPost queries. Weeks ago, they touted the new super PAC as a way for Trump to “spend heavily” to help Republicans win back Congress.
Trump has spent $1.2 million attacking Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), $1.6 million opposing Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and $1.1 million going after Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.). He has also spent $1.6 million and $2.3 million attacking John Fetterman and Tim Ryan, the Democratic Senate nominees in Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively, and another $706,000 boosting Blake Masters, the GOP nominee in Arizona.
Indeed, in all five races, the Republican nominee is Trump’s choice, based almost entirely on a willingness to spread Trump’s lies that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from him through voter fraud. In each of those five states, Republicans may have had a stronger chance of winning had a more mainstream candidate wound up as the nominee.
Yet even in most of those states, McConnell’s PAC has vastly outspent Trump’s. In Georgia, for example, the Senate Leadership Fund has already spent $33 million attacking Warnock. It has spent $29 million attacking Ryan in Ohio, $22 million on Cortez Masto in Nevada, and $42 million on Fetterman in Pennsylvania.
Only in Arizona — where McConnell had been hoping to persuade termed-out Gov. Doug Ducey to run against Kelly, only to have Trump chase him off for failing to help him steal the election there — has the Senate Leadership Fund not played a role. The group has also spent heavily in Wisconsin, North Carolina and New Hampshire, states where Trump’s group has not spent anything.
Trump soured on McConnell from the day the Electoral College certified his 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden and McConnell congratulated the president-elect. McConnell delivered Trump a severe scolding on the Senate floor after the mob Trump had incited attacked the Capitol in his last-ditch coup attempt on Jan. 6, 2021, but within days worked to make sure that Trump would not be convicted by the Senate following his second impeachment.
Despite having effectively saved Trump’s political career with that action, McConnell since then has nevertheless borne repeated insults from Trump, who calls him “the old crow” and urges Republican senators to dump him as their leader in the next Congress. Most recently, Trump also attacked McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, with a screed that called her “Coco Chow” and alluded to her Chinese heritage. Chao served as Trump’s transportation secretary until she resigned after Jan. 6.
Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol ― his last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― killed five, including one police officer, injured another 140 officers and led to four police suicides.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.