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Trump goes after Pence, McConnell in speech to party donors

PALM BEACH, Fla. — It was supposed to be a unifying weekend for a Republican Party at war with itself over former President Donald Trump’s divisive leadership. But Trump himself shattered two days of relative peace in his closing remarks to the GOP’s top donors when he insulted the party’s Senate leader and his wife.

Ahead of the invitation-only speech at Trump’s new home inside his Mar-a-Lago resort, the former president’s advisers said he would emphasize his commitment to his party and Republican unity.

Trump veered sharply from prepared remarks Saturday night and instead slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a “stone-cold loser” and mocked McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who was Trump’s transportation secretary.

Trump also said he was “disappointed” in his vice president, Mike Pence, and used a profanity in assessing McConnell, according to multiple people in attendance who were not authorized to publicly discuss what was said in a private session. He said McConnell had not thanked him properly for putting Chao, who was labor secretary under President George W. Bush, in his Cabinet.

McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Trump’s words left some attendees feeling uncomfortable.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich did not defend Trump as he left Palm Beach on Sunday.

“We are much better off if we keep focusing on the Democrats. Period,” Gingrich said.

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