Former US president Donald Trump has lashed out at The Wall Street Journal over an editorial it published detailing the Republican Party's litany of electoral defeats under his leadership.
"If he was so great politically for the GOP, why is the party now out of power?" The Journal asked in an editorial two days ago, on March 2.
"Trump had one landmark victory in 2016, but he has cost the GOP dearly since.
"As long as Republicans focus on the grievances of the Trump past, they won't be a governing majority."
Since Trump came to power in 2017, his party has lost control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House.
He was the first US president to oversee such a comprehensive wipeout since Herbert Hoover in the early 1930s, at the start of the Great Depression. Trump was also the first sitting president to lose an election since George HW Bush in 1992.
The WSJ editorial explicitly blamed the former president for his party's electoral woes, including most recently in a pair of Georgia Senate elections on January 5, where Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler both lost their seats. Those two losses ceded power of the Senate to the Democrat Party, giving them control of both chambers of the US Congress as well as the presidency.
Trump said nothing about the editorial on the day it was published, but hit back with a statement released to the media today.
"The Wall Street Journal editorial page continues, knowingly, to fight for globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars that favour other countries and sell out our great American workers, and they fight for RINOS [Republican In Name Only] that have so badly hurt the Republican Party," Trump said.
"Fortunately, nobody cares much about The Wall Street Journal editorial anymore. They have lost great credibility."
Trump went on to argue against the editorial's premise at length, first blaming the Senate losses in Georgia on the state's Republican leadership, which he has repeatedly accused of being insufficiently loyal to him.
"Republicans did not turn out to vote because they were so angry and disappointed with Georgia Republican leadership and Governor Kemp," Trump said.
He argued Georgia's decision in early 2020 to ensure voters were given 24 hours to fix technical mistakes on their mail-in ballots was an act of "virtually eliminating signature verification requirements" and proved to have "a major impact on the result, a rigged election".
Trump lost the 2020 presidential election decisively by a margin of 306 electoral votes to 232.
The former president's statement went on to criticise Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell for not delivering higher stimulus payments for American workers.
"McConnell's refusal to go above US$600 per person on the stimulus cheque payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2000 per person in ad after ad" were a major factor in Republican losses, he said. Before the election, Trump called on Republicans to support $2000 payments, but they largely ignored him.
Trump's feud with McConnell has continued ever since the Senate leader condemned the former president for provoking the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. At last month's impeachment trial, McConnell voted to acquit Trump, but still blamed him directly for the riot.
Trump's statement eventually personally attacked McConnell and blamed him for Republican defeats: "The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent millions of dollars on ineffective TV ads starring Mitch McConnell, the most unpopular politician in the country, who only won in Kentucky because President Trump endorsed him. He would have lost badly without this endorsement."
McConnell won re-election with 58 per cent of the vote. It was his seventh consecutive win in Kentucky, a record that stretches back to 1984. Various polling forecasts never gave McConnell less than a 90 per cent chance of winning his seat. Nevertheless, Trump believes his endorsement in June was the decisive factor.
Despite the war of words between the Republican senator and the former Republican president, McConnell has clarified he would support Trump as president again, should he win the party's nomination in 2024.