Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party has been waning and vows to play a more active role in discouraging unelected Senate candidates like him. which Mr. Trump endorsed in 2022.
Mr. McConnell told NBC News that he and allies who lead the Senate Leadership Fund’s political action committee will be “less likely to accept any cards that may be handed to us” thanks to Mr. Trump’s endorsements, whom he accused of making the Republican Party’s image toxic. among independent and suburban swing voters, two groups that have largely defected to Democrats in recent election cycles.
He said Mr Trump’s support was “so strong” in some states that bolstering a more eligible candidate in 2022 would have taken “a lot of money” with those “maybe not successful” efforts, so he made the decision to stay out of the primaries in such scenarios.
“My conclusion was that everywhere else we had to play with the cards that were dealt,” he said, later adding, “Our biggest issue was the quality of the candidates.”
As a result, the Kentucky Republican said the GOP performed below expectations in “every state” and took “death” hits in key races in Arizona, New Hampshire and Georgia.
“We lost the support we needed among independents and moderate Republicans, mainly because of the opinion they had of us as a party – largely made by the former president – that we were kind of mean and tended towards chaos,” he said.
“And oddly enough, even though this subset of voters didn’t approve of President Biden, they repeatedly didn’t trust us enough to give us the majority we needed.”
Mr. McConnell also said the GOP could “do a better job with less potential interference” from Mr. Trump, who he suggested “might have other things to do” at the future — an indirect reference to Mr. Trump’s growing legal troubles following the House committee’s Jan. 6 final report.
Asked what has changed since the cycle that ended just a month and a few weeks ago, he replied: “I think the political weight of the former president has diminished.”
The Independent Gt