Mitch McConnell Admits How Little Influence He Really Has On GOP Voters And Trump

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has defended his decision to endorse Donald Trump in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination contest despite his past criticism over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, suggesting that taking a different stance would have done little to change the outcome of the Republican primary.

In an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation” broadcast Sunday, McConnell was repeatedly pressed to explain how he could back Trump for a second term in office even though he still found him morally responsible and criminally liable for the Capitol riot.

“I was asked that question three years ago. If he were the nominee, would I support him?” McConnell told CBS’ Margaret Brennan. “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 also suggested that his opinion would do little to change the trajectory of the GOP primary as Republican voters seemed to have made up their mind on their preferred candidate.

“The issue is, what kind of influence, even if I had chosen to get involved in the presidential election, what kind of influence would I have had?” McConnell asked.

He continued: “I like us to be in the majority. I’m spending my political time and my political capital, whatever amount I have, on trying to flip the Senate so that my successor is the majority leader and not the minority leader.”

McConnell, earlier this year, announced he will step down from GOP leadership in November after a series of health scares and waning influence within his conference. He has already made history as the longest serving Senate leader.

Despite his tense relationship with Trump, McConnell announced he would endorse the former president in March following former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to withdraw from the race after it became clear she could not stop Trump’s path to the nomination.

“It should come as no surprise that as nominee, he will have my support,” McConnell said at the time.

During the CBS interview, the Kentucky Republican added that he still stood by his comments shortly after Jan. 6 that presidents shouldn’t be immune from prosecution. The U.S. Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments in a case that could derail the federal election interference case against Trump.

Trump’s team has argued he should enjoy absolute immunity for any official acts he undertook while in office, and went as far to suggest that he should not have faced legal consequences even if he ordered the death of a political rival.

“I stand by everything I said then,” McConnell said. “Obviously, it’ll be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether I was correct.”