Former US President Donald Trump greets the crowd at a rally on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan backed by President Joe Biden passed with votes from Republicans and Democrats last week, but not everyone is happy that it attracted bipartisan support. Especially not former President Donald Trump.Thirteen House Republicans voted to pass the bill last week, joining the 19 GOP senators—including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—who gave the legislation a filibuster-proof majority in August. Those House Republicans effectively gave Biden and the Democratic leadership the decisive votes, as six progressive Democrats voted against the bill because it wasn’t passed simultaneously with the larger Build Back Better plan that serves as the centerpiece of Biden’s domestic agenda.
Speaking at a Monday event hosted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign apparatus of the House GOP, Trump reportedly said he “loves all House Republicans,” before quickly backtracking.“Well, actually I don’t love all of you,” Trump said, according to the Washington Post. “I don’t love the 13 that voted for Biden’s infrastructure plan.”One attendee who’d voted for the bill was freshman House GOP member Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Islander who ran for mayor in New York City in 2017. Malliotakis was “visibly shaken” by Trump’s attacks on those who voted for the infrastructure bill, the New York Post reported. Reached by VICE News via email, a Malliotakis spokesperson declined to comment on the report. Rep. Fred Upton, another Republican who voted for the bill, told CNN Monday that he’s been receiving threatening voicemails since doing so, and played an excerpt from one. “You're a fucking piece-of-shit traitor,” the caller says. I hope you die... I hope your fucking family dies, I hope everybody in your fucking staff dies, you fucking piece of shit traitor.”
Rep. John Katko, another Republican who voted for the bill, told NY1 Tuesday that his office has received “a substantial amount of troubling phone calls.” including “some very serious ones.”
Trump’s comments Monday are part of a running theme: Following the bill’s passage last Friday, he has released multiple statements slamming Republicans who voted for it, particularly Mitch McConnell.“All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves, in particular Mitch McConnell, for granting a two-month stay, which allowed the Democrats time to work things out at our Country’s, and the Republican Party’s, expense!” Trump said in a November 7 statement.“Why is it that Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat Socialist Infrastructure Plan, and induced others in his Party to do likewise, when he was incapable of getting a great Infrastructure Plan wanting to be put forward by me and the Republican Party?” Trump said in another statement Tuesday. Trump’s allies have joined in too. House Republican leaders are preparing for the possibility that some of their members will attempt to strip committee assignments from the 13 members who voted for it, Punchbowl News reported Tuesday. (Three of the members who voted for the bill have already announced they’re retiring from Congress.) Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows endorsed the effort Tuesday during an interview with Steve Bannon, saying, “These people voted for Joe Biden.”
“I don’t know how you can send a clearer message than saying, ‘Listen, obviously you’re not on our team. We’re going to give that leadership position to somebody else,’” Meadows said. The same day Trump spoke at the dinner, McConnell made a visit to Covington, in northern Kentucky, and praised the infrastructure bill, particularly for its potential to fix one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country: the Brent Spence Bridge, which links Covington to Cincinnati, Ohio. While McConnell bashed Biden and the Democrats’ Build Back Better plan, he said infrastructure “enjoys a 75% approval rating, passed on a bipartisan basis, and I think it was the right thing to do,” according to WXVU. Biden addressed the bipartisan support in a Tuesday virtual town hall, criticizing any effort to punish House Republicans who voted for the bill. “The very people who voted for it initially because it looked like the Democrats were going to be given credit on something are being threatened with their chairmanships,” he said. “It's just not right. We're going to change it, though.”Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.