‘What Kind Of Influence Could I’ve Had?’: McConnell Pushes Back On CBS’ Margaret Brennan Over Support Of Trump

[Screenshot/CBS News/"Face the Nation"]

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back on CBS host Margaret Brennan’s suggesting his support for former President Donald Trump as the GOP nominee conflicted with his defense of sending aid to Ukraine.

In a “Face the Nation” interview released Sunday, McConnell discussed the Senate’s recent approval of additional aid for Ukraine. Brennan pressed the GOP leader on his push for Ukraine aid and his endorsement of Trump as the Republican nominee, despite the former president  previously voicing his opposition to funding aid for Ukraine.

Brennan also referenced McConnell’s prior comments on Trump’s responsibility for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. McConnell repeated he stood by his commitment to support the GOP nominee. (RELATED: Mitch McConnell Reveals He ‘Apologized’ To Zelenskyy For Not Sending Aid Fast Enough)

“So you stand by your description of Trump as practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of January 6 and, potentially, criminally responsible and libel?” Brennan asked.

“I don’t know how many times you’re gonna ask me the same question. I stand by everything I said on January 6 and February 13 of ’21,” McConnell stated.

“Well, I’m asking you the question because since the past few months have passed and our last conversation, you’ve endorsed him for re-election,” Brennan pushed.

“You need to get better research. I was asked that question three years ago, ‘If he were the nominee would I support him?'” McConnell responded.

“And you said you would support whoever the nominee was,” Brennan continued.

“And I said, ‘Yes,’ because the voters of my party across the country have made a decision. As the Republican leader of the Senate, obviously, I’m gonna support the nominee of our party,” McConnell stated.

As Brennan and McConnell continued to go back and forth about the senator’s endorsement of Trump, Brennan claimed that it appeared McConnell’s “worldview” was more aligned with President Joe Biden than with the former president. McConnell, however, immediately pushed back on the CBS host’s statement, emphasizing his differences with the current administration and noting his focus is on the Senate for the remainder of his time.

“But you have taken stands on issues you feel are of strong national security interests and morally imperative. That was your argument on Ukraine, and that you were bucking — in some ways — a populist opinion. So, on this one, I’m just wondering how you explain that when you say it was good enough for a number of Republicans that he be the nominee? Because that is the populist opinion. It’s not taking the position that he has — he doesn’t live up to the role,” Brennan stated.

“The issue is, what kind of influence —even if I’d chosen to get involved in a presidential election — what kind of influence would I’ve had?” McConnell asked.

“You’re one of the most powerful Republicans,” Brennan retorted.

“I’m the Republican leader of the Senate. What we do here is try to make law. I like us to be in the majority,” McConnell stated.

“Your worldview seems more aligned with Joe Biden when it comes to American leadership in these global conflicts than with Donald Trump, who has spoken against Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has not endorsed the package that you just worked so hard to get over the finish line,” Brennan stated.

“Look: I wouldn’t have withdrawn from Afghanistan. I wouldn’t have submitted four budgets in a row for defense that don’t even keep up with inflation. I got plenty of differences with the current administration. Whether I will have differences with the next administration remains to be seen. But I know what I think, and it doesn’t make any difference what the outcome of the presidential election is. I’m gonna be focusing on this [with] the remainder of my time in the Senate,” McConnell stated.

In a 79 to 18 vote April 23, the Senate approved legislation for additional foreign aid, giving billions to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. While McConnell has been an outspoken advocate for sending more funds to help Ukraine in its war against Russia, some Republican lawmakers have been deeply opposed to it. Prior to the Senate’s approval, Republican Ohio Senator J.D. Vance warned U.S. defenses are “stretched too thin” and resources should be focused on “closer” allies, such as Israel.