(The Hill) — The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board slammed former President Donald Trump on Sunday, criticizing his use of the term “death wish” in a weekend attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
“We live in a polarized political age when rabid partisans don’t need provocation to resort to violence,” the board wrote. “This makes Donald Trump’s latest verbal assault against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell all the more reckless.”
“[T]he ‘death wish’ rhetoric is ugly even by Mr. Trump’s standards and deserves to be condemned,” it added.
Trump on Friday said McConnell had a “death wish” for supporting legislation backed by Democrats while calling former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife, “China loving” and “Coco Chow,” references to her family’s American business that has dealings in China.
McConnell and Trump’s relationship has been a rocky one since the former president was in the White House, and Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly lambasted the top Senate Republican, saying he should no longer serve as GOP leader while attacking Chao with racially tinged statements.
The latest attack came after McConnell voted for a continuing resolution that funded the government through mid-December.
“Mr. Trump’s apologists claim he merely meant Mr. McConnell has a political death wish, but that isn’t what he wrote,” the Wall Street Journal editors wrote. “It’s all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally, and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell. Many supporters took Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about former Vice President Mike Pence all too seriously on Jan. 6.”
The editorial also references Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who told The New York Times that she wouldn’t be surprised if a lawmaker gets killed amid a heightened-threat environment.
Many lawmakers, including Collins, have faced an inundation of threats that has led to increased security funding and changes in behavior for some lawmakers.
“What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence,” Collins told the newspaper.
The Journal’s editors wrote on Sunday that “Trump could be working and spending money to elect a GOP Congress, or to help his home state of Florida recover from Hurricane Ian.”
“Instead he’s attacking Mr. McConnell and his wife as part of a personal political vendetta, and putting every Republican candidate on the spot to respond to questions about the Trump rant,” they added. “Mr. Trump always puts himself first, and with this rhetoric he may put others at genuine risk of harm.”