McConnell Criticizes Trump Over Senate Losses, Says His ‘Political Clout Has Diminished’

Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
Font Size:

Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell attacked former President Donald Trump over the losses the GOP sustained during the 2022 midterm elections.

The Senate GOP leader defended his decision to refuse to fund some GOP candidates in competitive races to NBC News Wednesday. McConnell said that Trump’s influence during the GOP primaries is to blame for their losses during the midterms and vowed to “actively look for quality candidates” in 2024 as he’s “less inclined to accept cards that may be dealt to us,” NBC reported.

“In the other states, Trump’s support was so significant – we could have spent a lot of money, maybe trying to come up with a different candidate and maybe not succeeding. And so my conclusion was that everywhere else, we had to play with the cards that were dealt,” he told NBC.

McConnell wants the party to move on from Trump, insisting that his power in Washington was “diminished” after several Trump-backed candidates lost in competitive races, according to NBC. “Here’s what I think has changed: I think the former president’s political clout has diminished,” he said.

“We can do a better job with less potential interference,” he added. “The former president may have other things to do.”

McConnell said Trump hurt the Republican party’s image with independent and moderate Republican voters causing the Democrats to gain a larger majority than before. (RELATED: McCarthy, McConnell Beware: Poll Shows Dead Canary In The Establishment GOP’s Coal Mine)

“We lost support that we needed among independents and moderate Republicans, primarily related to the view they had of us as a party – largely made by the former president that we were sort of nasty and tended toward chaos. And oddly enough, even though that subset of voters did not approve of President Biden, they didn’t have enough confidence in us in several instances to give us the majority we needed,” he told NBC.

Independent and Republican voters gave McConnell lower approval ratings than Trump in recent polling commissioned by The Economist and YouGov.

Among Independents, only 14% gave McConnell a favorable rating, while 56% found him unfavorable, the poll reported. McConnell fared similarly among Republicans, with 32% approving of the Senate GOP leader and 58% disapproving, the survey found.

Comparatively, the poll showed that 33% of Independent voters approved of Trump, a 19-point lead over McConnell. The approval gap between McConnell and Trump rose to 45 points among Republican voters, according to the survey. It found 77% of GOP voters approved of Trump, while only 21% disapproved.

Trump launched his 2024 Presidential campaign on Nov. 15.