McConnell Dismisses Trump’s Criticism: ‘We’re Not Preoccupied with The Past’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday dismissed comments from Donald Trump that the GOP needs new leadership in the Senate and suggested that the party is moving forward without the former president.

“Well look, we’re looking to the future, not the past. And if you want to see the future of the Republican Party watch Tim Scott‘s response to President Biden last night,” McConnell said during a Fox News interview on Thursday. 

“He’s the future. That’s where we’re headed. We’re not preoccupied with the past but looking forward,” he added. 

McConnell’s comments follow an ongoing feud between the GOP leader and the former president. Most recently, Trump said he believes that Republicans will do well in the 2022 elections but the party needs new leadership.

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“I think we’re going to do very well. We need good leadership. Mitch McConnell has not done a great job, I think they should change Mitch McConnell,” Trump said during an interview with Fox News on Thursday morning. 

Trump’s recent criticism comes after months of back and forth between the two Republicans. Tension began brewing after McConnell told the former president in December that he had recognized Biden as the president-elect. McConnell has said he has not spoken with Trump since.

The pair clashed when McConnell called Trump’s actions leading up to the January 6 Capitol riots “a disgraceful dereliction of duty.” Though the GOP leader voted to acquit Trump on an article of impeachment accusing him of inciting an insurrection, he said the former president was “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the Capitol riot.

Earlier this month, Trump called McConnell a “dumb son of a b****” and a “stone-cold loser” during an off-script speech at a major Republican National Committee donor gathering.

“If that were Schumer instead of this dumb son of a b****, Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen,” Trump said at the time, according to the Washington Post, referring to the certification of the 2020 election results.

Asked on Thursday if he is worried that Republican voters will take Trump’s comments about him to heart, McConnell said only that “what we’re doing is focusing on the future.” 

However, the Republican leader said that he will support the party’s presidential nominee in 2024, even if Trump wins the nomination.

“Well, I’m going to support the nominee of the Republican Party. I do predict however that there’s going to be a robust competition for the nomination,” he said. “Once that all sorts itself out, as the Republican leader of the Senate obviously I’ll be supporting the Republican nominee for president.”

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