Sunday August 7, 2022

Donald Trump tore into US Senator Joe Manchin during his speech from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, vowing to campaign against the West Virginia Democrat, who he claimed was “devastating” the state by signing onto the Democrats’ budget and climate deal.

“I’ll go down and campaign against him as hard as anybody can,” Mr Trump, eliciting one of his biggest rounds of applause of the night.

The former president also claimed Mr Manchin, who isn’t up for reelection until 2025, promised not to vote against him during the impeachment process.

“I would never vote against you, you’re a great president,” Mr Trump recounted the senator saying.

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Mr Manchin voted against Mr Trump during both of his impeachments.

The Independent has contacted Mr Manchin for comment.

Mr Trump also went after another moderate who had been seen as a potential obstacle to the Democratic social spending package, Kyrsten Sinema. In his speech, he implied he might attack her in her home state as well.

“What happened to Manchin and Sinema?” Mr Trump said. “What happened? We’re trying to figure out what the hell happened. Where did this new philosophy come from all of a sudden?”

The Independent contacted the Arizona Senator for comment.

But the former president didn’t just attack Democrats.

He also sharply criticised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him an “old, broken crow” who was “taken for a ride” by the Democrats during the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure deal in 2021.

Mr Trump says he warned the Senate leader the Democrats would keep seeking more social spending and tax hikes, even though parts of the Democrats’ so-called Build Back Better agenda were severed from the infrastructure deal so it could pass.

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“McConnell is the most unpopular politician in the country, even moreso than crazy Nancy Pelosi,” Mr Trump said. “Something has to be done. He raises large campaign contributions for senators. That’s how he holds onto his power.”

The Independent has contacted Mr McConnell for comment.

During his CPAC speech, Mr Trump also celebrated the results of a straw poll taken at the conference, which showed him as the overwhelming favourite for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination among attendees.

“I better damn win that straw poll,” he said with a laugh, describing when he learned the results.

“When you see those numbers there’s a great feeling of unity, not only in CPAC, but in the Republican Party.”

The president once again teased a 2024 run, telling the crowd “we may have to do it again,” but stopping short of announcing a formal comeback campaign.

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