Trump threatened to primary GOP lawmakers who favor the bipartisan infrastructure plan. 17 Republicans just voted to advance it, including Mitch McConnell.

Donald trump
Former President Donald Trump. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Donald Trump threatened primary opponents to any GOPers backing the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
  • The former president has railed against negotiations, warning Republicans to abandon the talks.
  • But in a Wednesday vote, 17 Senate Republicans joined Democrats to advance the $US1 ($AU1) trillion package.
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Former President Donald Trump left no words unspoken in his most direct attempt yet to tank President Joe Biden’s $US1 ($AU1) trillion infrastructure deal.

The GOP frontman threatened “lots of primaries” ahead for any Republican lawmakers who cooperated with Democrats to get the bipartisan deal passed.

His statement was released after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced ahead of the procedural vote in the Senate on Wednesday that he would vote to advance the measure. Seventeen Republicans – including McConnell – joined all 50 Democrats to advance the bipartisan legislation, in a major test for the bill.

The vote came hours after a group of 10 Republican and Democratic negotiators announced they struck a deal with the White House for $US550 ($AU746) billion in new spending – $US30 ($AU41) billion less than was included in a prior agreement.

Trump, who floated plans for infrastructure spending throughout his presidency, has railed against negotiations in recent days, telling Republican lawmakers to skip the talks – not, it seems, because of any specific issues with the substance but because passage of a bill would be “a victory for the Biden administration and Democrats” and “heavily used in the 2022 election.”

“Don’t do it Republicans – Patriots will never forget!” he wrote. “If this deal happens, lots of primaries will be coming your way.”

The former president has already endorsed primary challengers to try to unseat Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio.

Despite his defeat at the ballot box in November, Trump maintains massive power in the Republican Party and has been making a show of handing out endorsements – or rejections. Most recently, however, on Tuesday, a Trump-backed candidate in Texas lost in a congressional special election.

Wednesday’s vote to advance the bill in the Senate precedes a final vote on the legislation coming sometime in the next week or two. Democrats are also preparing a reconciliation package that could pass in the Senate without Republican support.