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Trump calls Karl Rove a 'pompous fool' and a 'RINO of the highest order'

Donald Trump attacked veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove on Thursday, describing the man who advised his 2020 campaign as a traitor to his party and 'a pompous fool'.

Rove. who served as George W. Bush's chief strategist, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, criticizing Trump's CPAC performance on Sunday and calling on him not to run in 2024.

Trump hit back the next day, calling Rove a 'RINO' - Republican In Name Only. 

'Karl Rove has been losing for years now, except for himself,' Trump wrote. 'He's a RINO of the highest order.'

Rove, widely seen as the architect of George W. Bush's two victories, was attacked by Trump

Trump lashed out at Rove on Thursday, describing him as a 'pompous fool' and a loser

Trump claimed that Rove rang him on election night to congratulate him for his victory.

He also said that Rove 'came to the Oval Office lobbying for 5G'. 

Rove, 70, frequently appears on Fox News - often with a whiteboard covered in hand drawn statistics, facts and figures to prove his point.

Trump urged the network to drop him. 

'Karl Rove's voice on Fox is always negative for those who know how to win,' the former president said. 

'He certainly hasn't helped Fox in the ratings department, has he? Never had much of a feeling for Karl. He's a pompous fool.' 

He 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.' 

Rove, in a statement to Reuters, dismissed Trump's criticism.

'I've been called a lot of things in my career, but never a RINO,' he said. 

'I've voted for every Republican presidential candidate since I turned 18 and have labored only for GOP candidates since then. 

'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.'

Rove laughed off Trump's criticism, and said he would not be giving up his whiteboard

Rove, in his Wall Street Journal article, noted that in a straw poll of CPAC participants, only 68 per cent wanted Trump to run for president again in 2024, while 32 per cent did not want him to run or had no opinion.

Trump's CPAC speech was noteworthy for rehashing his unfounded claims of election fraud in his November loss to Democrat Joe Biden, despite advice from his team not to do so.

Rove wrote of the 90-minute speech: 'There was no forward-looking agenda, simply a recitation of his greatest hits. 

'People like fresh material. Repetition is useful to a point, but it grows stale.'

The spat was the latest round in the civil war that has erupted within the Republican Party, with establishment figures such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell eager to put Trump in the rearview mirror, and others, like Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, believing the party's future depends on the energy of the pro-Trump base.

But Trump retains strong influence within the party. 

McConnell voted to acquit Trump on impeachment charges, then turned around and called Trump 'practically and morally responsible' for his supporters' deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last month, only to then say he would vote for Trump if he is the Republican nominee in 2024.

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