- Former President Donald Trump blasted McConnell as an “Old Crow” over the weekend.
- McConnell seemingly responded in stride, saying that Old Crow was a favored drink of Henry Clay.
- Trump is upset that Richard Shelby has backed another candidate to succeed him over Mo Brooks.
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Former President Donald Trump may be out of the Washington bubble, but this past weekend, he still took time to blast Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as an “Old Crow.”
On Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican brushed off the comment and turned the insult on its head.
“Actually, it’s quite an honor,” McConnell told CNN. “Old Crow is Henry Clay’s favorite bourbon.”
Clay, a fellow Kentuckian, represented the state in the House and Senate in the 1800s, and also served as US Secretary of State during his career.
McConnell’s response came as the former president attacked retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama for backing Katie Boyd Britt in the 2022 Senate race to succeed him in the upper chamber. Britt, a former chief of staff for Shelby, is currently the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.
Trump has thrown his support behind longtime ally and conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, who continues to support the former president’s claims of a “stolen” 2020 presidential election.
“I see that the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, is pushing hard to have his ‘assistant’ fight the great Mo Brooks for his Senate seat,” Trump said in a statement. “She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants. For Mitch McConnell to be wasting money on her campaign is absolutely outrageous.”
Shelby, for his part, dismissed being called a “RINO,” or Republican in name only, a pejorative used by Trump for members of the party who he doesn’t consider to be true conservatives.
“I was a Democrat at one time,” Shelby told CNN. “A long time ago, we all were. I don’t know if the president was. But I’m a Republican. I don’t think anybody questions that up here.”
Shelby, who was first elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1986 before switching to the GOP in 1994, expressed his continued support for Britt.
“She’s the best qualified and the best hope we’ve got in the state,” he said.
In a statement to Dothan-based WTVY News 4, Britt said that the comments reflected fear from Brooks.
“I don’t need anyone else to fight my battles, and as Alabama’s next US Senator, I won’t be a rubber stamp for anyone,” she said in a statement. “My opponent is obviously panicked; he’s been in elected office for 40 years, but the people of Alabama are eager for a real conservative choice and someone who’s going to bring change to DC.”
McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race. The senator did not respond to CNN’s question about whether the group will direct money to the contest in the heavily Republican state.