The GOP’s brewing civil war is starting to boil over.
Billionaire business mogul and birther pusher Donald Trump is skewering Republican strategist Karl Rove for spearheading an effort to catapult more electable conservatives into office.
Trump, who sides with the Tea Party, launched a series of tweets attacking Rove on Thursday. “Karl Rove is a total loser. Money given to him might as well be thrown down the drain,” the reality show host wrote. In another, he tweeted “Karl Rove’s strategy and commercials were the worst I have ever seen.”
Rove –who recently launched super PAC, the Conservative Victory Fund in order to back “the most conservative candidate that can win”—has come under scrutiny from Tea Party groups. They are arguing Rove is abandoning strict, conservative principles.
Matt Kibbe, president of Tea Party group Freedom Works, told Hardball on Thursday that Rove is “heading in the wrong direction.” And conservative shock jock Rush Limbaugh argued earlier in the week that Rove’s plan will bring in “moderate” candidates.
But the former senior adviser to George W. Bush is defending his loyalty to the Tea Party, telling Fox News that “this is not about ideology. This is about being a bad candidate,” (He’s talking to you, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin).
It’s true, however, that Rove hasn’t exactly had the best success record. His super PAC, American Crossroads became one of the worst performing groups in the 2012 election cycle. It saw a success rate of just 1%, despite spending more than $103 million in ads.
Trump also took to Twitter to skewer Rove on his PAC’s new ad against actress Ashley Judd, who is mulling a bid for Senate in Kentucky. He wrote on Friday that the ad is the “best thing that ever happened to Ashely Judd—simply increases her profile” in addition to saying “See the Ashley Judd ad by @karlrove and you will definitely vote for her and love Obama.”
Rove hasn’t responded to Trump’s round of tweets. But he’s demonstrated he’s no fan of The Apprentice host in the past.
In 2011, When Trump was going to moderate a GOP debate of his own, Rove told Fox News the faceoff would “have the smallest viewership of any one of the debates.”
“Is Mr. Trump going to ask the candidates whether they agree with him that Barack Obama was not born in the United States?” he asked. ”Do they agree with him that George W. Bush is ‘evil’ and that Nancy Pelosi was ‘great’? These are the kind of questions we might have from Mr. Trump. These are all views of his.”
Trump, of course, eventually pulled the plug on the debate.
Tune into Hardball at 5 and 7 p.m. ET for more on the GOP civil war and Rove defending his loyalty to the Tea Party. We’ll have msnbc political analysts David Corn of Mother Jones and Joy Reid of TheGrio.com to weigh in.