On Thursday night, Donald Trump issued a, um, statement in which he savaged Karl Rove, a longtime Republican strategist who rose to prominence as the political Svengali for George W. Bush.
The statement read like a series of Trumpian tweets strung together – untruths, exaggerations, bullying, preening etc. (Trump was banned from Twitter shortly after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.) I went through it line by line. The, er, best(?) are below.
1. “Karl Rove has been losing for years, except for himself.”
So, Rove is a loser? Or a winner? And away we go!
2. “He’s a RINO of the highest order, who came to the Oval Office lobbying for 5G for him and a group.”
It was widely reported in 2019 that Rove was advocating for the federal government to play a role in the development of 5G. Why does that make him a Republican In Name Only again?
3. “After a lengthy discussion with Rove and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, I said no, they’re not qualified.”
Who’s not qualified? I don’t think Rove was advocating that he take over the 5G development himself? I am so confused. But here’s what I know: Trump told Rove no. Boom, roasted.
4. “On Election Evening, Nov. 3rd, at 10:30pm, Rove called to congratulate me on ‘a great win.’”
This would have been a very odd call for Rove to make. I went back through CNN’s live blog on election night. As of 10:14 p.m. on the East Coast, Joe Biden had 89 electoral votes to 72 for Trump. Chances this call actually happened? I’d guess under 50-50. (And, no, I don’t know why “Election Evening” is capitalized either.)
5. “Karl Rove’s voice on Fox is always negative for those who know how to win.”
I’m no Rove apologist, but the facts are these: He guided George W. Bush to two terms as president. Which, because math, is one more term than Trump won.
6. “He certainly hasn’t helped Fox in the ratings department, has he?”
The Fox News ratings shot! I did not see that coming!
7. “He’s a pompous fool with bad advice and always has an agenda.”
A “pompous fool,” you say….
8. “He ran the campaign for two Senators in Georgia, and did a rotten job with bad ads and concepts.”
Rove was involved in the Georgia Senate runoffs; he led the joint fundraising committee for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But helping to raise national donor money for the races isn’t the same thing as being the campaign manager (or the ad maker) for the races.
9. “Karl would be much more at home at the disastrous Lincoln Project. I heard they have numerous openings!”
Wait, so now we are attacking the Lincoln Project? (Sidebar: The group is a bit of a disaster.)
10. “If the Republican Party is going to be successful, they’re going to have to stop dealing with the likes of Karl Rove and just let him float away, or retire, like Liddle’ Bob Corker, Jeff ‘Flakey’ Flake, and others like Toomey of Pennsylvania, who will soon follow.”
Bit of a run-on sentence – if I’m being honest.
11. “If it weren’t for me, the House would have lost 25 seats instead of gaining 15–it was a shock to everyone, and almost cost Pelosi her Speaker position.”
There’s absolutely zero evidence that Trump is responsible – in any way – for the gains Republicans made in the House last November. In fact, many GOP strategists believe that their gains in the House were due to the fact that voters wanted Trump out but also wanted to preserve some semblance of divided government. So, if he gets any credit, it’s for looking like a definite loser at the top of the ticket.
12. “Likewise, 8-10 Senators would have lost their position, including Karl’s friend Mitch, our wonderful leader who would rather spend his time fighting me than Pelosi, Schumer, and Sleepy Joe.”
I’ve been over this a lot of times but Trump had nothing to do with Sen. Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) winning reelection. Also, it’s worth noting; Republicans lost the Senate majority!
13. “In last year’s Congressional primaries, 120 of the 122 candidates I endorsed won - and the two that lost were beaten by people claiming to be more Trump than their opponent. In the Senate, I was undefeated in primary endorsements with a record of 21 and 0, and close to that in the general election.”
But who’s counting! Oh, Trump is.
14. “31 million people listened to my CPAC speech online, and it had among the largest television audience of the week, even though it was on cable at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.”
Trump appears to be citing a pro-Trump mouthpiece – The Gateway Pundit – for these numbers. It’s not clear how the Gateway Pundit made its calculations. (What a surprise!) Here’s all you need to know: Trump gets BIG ratings. Which means people like him. And he won. Or something.
15. “Karl Rove is all talk and no action!”
But didn’t you just say the actions he took in Georgia didn’t work? So, which is it?
16. “Next time Karl, save your Election night phone call and keep doing a great job for the Democrats.”
Again, color me skeptical that Rove called.
17. “Fox should get rid of Karl Rove and his ridiculous ‘whiteboard’ as soon as possible!”
Why, why, why is the word “whiteboard” in quotes here?!?! Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.