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A brief history of Trump attacking members of his own party

President Donald Trump might be the only sitting president in history to routinely lambast politicians of his own party, conveying his discontent on Twitter, at rallies, and in speeches. He regularly gives his detractors unflattering nicknames — “Little Marco Rubio” for the Florida junior senator, “Lyin’ Ted” for Sen. Ted Cruz — and blames senators for not “getting the job done” as his agenda falters.


Here are eight Republican sitting senators whom Trump has personally insulted since he took office:

Jan. 29 — Sen. John McCain of Arizona

McCain is one of the president’s favorite political punching bags. Trump began publicly insulting the senator in 2013 and the frequency only increased after inauguration. The attacks appear to ramp up whenever McCain openly disagrees with the president’s decisions — Trump’s first jab denounced a joint statement on immigration by McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina within the first 10 days of the presidency. Less than two weeks later, he critiqued McCain’s statements to the media. And while the feud seemed to die down for a few months — Trump even issued a tweet in support of McCain after his brain cancer diagnosis — the president repeatedly bashed the senator on Twitter during the Obamacare repeal-and-replace process in September.

July 19 — Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada

Heller, who is positioning himself for one of the toughest 2018 Senate reelection races, is also one of the greenest senators to receive Trump’s vitriol. He was undecided on the healthcare bill over the summer, so Trump strategically seated Heller next to him during a GOP lunch to discuss the bill — all while threatening the senator to his face. In a quip to the cameras covering the event, Trump issued a veiled threat: “He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”

July 26 — Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Murkowski currently holds the distinct honor of being the only female Republican senator to be publicly scorned by Trump. The president tweeted his disapproval with Murkowski after she voted against opening up the healthcare bill for debate — though she was joined by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who was not attacked by the president — to prevent a procedural vote on July 25. Though Murkowski is officially registered as a Republican, she won without her party’s endorsement, and so she tends to legislate through the lens of what would benefit her constituents the most.


Aug. 1 — Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona

Flake began critiquing Trump during the campaign and didn’t let up once the president took office. The pair’s most notable disagreement is over Trump’s proposed border security tactics. But tensions between the two escalated in August after Flake published his book “Conscience of a Conservative,” which spent a hefty chunk of paper disparaging Trump. In response, Trump endorsed challengers to Flake’s seat, met with potential challengers, called him “The Flake” behind closed doors, issued targeted tweets, and even insulted Flake during a rally in his home state.

Aug. 9 — Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

The Senate Majority Leader reportedly engaged in a “profane shouting match” with the president over the summer, as tensions escalated over a series of failed healthcare reform efforts. Trump repeatedly pressured McConnell to push the GOP policy through, but the senator said these expectations were too high. Trump subsequently issued a string of tweets about healthcare accusing McConnell of failing as a leader and even hinting that the senator should consider resigning if the healthcare impasse continued.

Aug. 17 — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina

The senior senator has openly criticized the president on a number of occasions, but Graham had the distinct honor of receiving Trump’s most virulent response yet after he explicitly opposed the president’s Charlottesville remarks, denouncing Trump’s “moral equivalency” between the white supremacist groups and those on the left. In response, Trump fired off a pair of tweets calling Graham a liar.


Sept. 20 – Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky

The junior Kentucky senator has long criticized Trump — even before the November election — but the president most notably blasted Paul for his refusal to expedite the Obamacare repeal. When Paul declined to attend a closed-door GOP senator dinner over the summer to discuss replacement bills, Trump reportedly called him out for using the vote as a grandstanding opportunity. Trump also later called Paul a “negative force” for fixing the country’s healthcare.

Oct. 8 — Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee

Corker told The New York Times on Friday that the president’s actions could incite World War III and that Trump “would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” Things devolved quickly, as the president and his one-time supporter entered into a Twitter war, volleying digital insults at each other. After Trump dubbed the senator “Liddle’ Bob Corker,” the senator declared that he would not run for reelection in 2018.