Rove, who served as George W. Bush’s chief strategist, penned an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday in which he said that Trump’s speech last Sunday to the Conservative Political Action Conference was wanting.
The former Trump 2020 campaign adviser also wrote of so-called “muted enthusiasm” for the former president, noting that in a straw poll of CPAC participants, only 68 percent wanted Trump to run for president again in 2024, while 32 percent did not want him to run or had no opinion.
In a lengthy statement issued by Trump’s office in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday, Trump branded Rove a “Rino—Republican In Name Only.
“Karl Rove has been losing for years now, except for himself,” Trump wrote.
“Never had much of a feeling for Karl, in that I disagreed with so many of the things he says. He’s a pompous fool with bad advice and always has an agenda,” Trump continued.
“He’s a RINO of the highest order… Karl Rove’s voice on Fox is always negative for those who know how to win. He certainly hasn’t helped Fox in the ratings department, has he?”
Trump also accused Rove of being responsible for the Republican Party’s defeat in the January Senate runoff election and said the party should “just let him float away.”
“Should have been an easy win but he and his friend Mitch blew it,” Trump added.
He went on to say that Rove had called him on election night to congratulate him for his “great win” and also said that Rove had come to the Oval Office “lobbying for 5G.”
Speaking of his recent CPAC speech, Trump wrote that he had “the largest television audience of the week.”
The former president wrote “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 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.”
In his Wall Street Journal criticism of Trump, Rove claimed that the 90-minute speech had “no forward-looking agenda,” and was “simply a recitation of his greatest hits. People like fresh material. Repetition is useful to a point but it grows stale.”
Rove dismissed Trump’s criticism in a statement to Reuters.
“I’ve been called a lot of things in my career, but never a RINO. I’ve voted for every Republican presidential candidate since I turned 18 and have labored only for GOP (Republican) candidates since then,” Rove said.
“I have a different recollection of Mr. Trump’s views on 5G and our conversation election night. I’ll continue to use my whiteboard and voice to call balls and strikes.”
In a second statement released on Thursday, Trump also criticised the Wall Street Journal editorial board for calling on Republicans to abandon him and also blamed Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and other GOP officials in the state for his election losses.
Trump said Republicans had failed to turn out to vote because they were so angry and disappointed with Georgia Republican leadership and Gov. Kemp for “failing to stand up to Stacey Abrams and the disastrous Consent Decree that virtually eliminated signature verification requirements across the state (and much worse), and was not approved by the State Legislature as required by the Constitution—having a major impact on the result, a rigged election.”
Trump also blamed the Senate losses on then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) refusal to push through a COVID-19 relief package that included $2,000 individual payments to most Americans.
He also accused the paper’s opinion section of supporting “globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars.”
“The Wall Street Journal editorial page continues, knowingly, to fight for globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars that favor other countries and sell out our great American workers, and they fight for RINOS that have so badly hurt the Republican Party,” Trump wrote.
“That’s where they are and that’s where they will always be. Fortunately, nobody cares much about The Wall Street Journal editorial anymore. They have lost great credibility.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Karl Rove for comment.