Mitch McConnell Has Strong Words About Donald Trump And The Midterm Elections

While many Americans have already written off a 2024 bid from former President Donald Trump as inevitable (or at least a major possibility), it appears that the gap between the present and his White House exit is growing ever larger. Mostly, because his focus and gaze are increasingly fixed on the past. 

Trump's stalwart yet thoroughly baseless stance that the November 2020 presidential election was rigged has increased in size to become a singular monolith he's holding onto for dear life. He went so far in October as to seemingly urge GOP voters to stay home for the polls in 2024 and the 2022 midterms (as The Week also noted). By all appearances, it's a statement contrary to Trump's months-long efforts to establish himself as a Republican kingmaker through an endless parade of candidate endorsements and fundraisers. His hanging on the 2020 rigged election shtick is also apparently the last straw for at least one major Republican.

In an October 19 interview with CNN, a statement made by GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell purportedly indicated that the Kentucky lawmaker has wearied of Trump's continuous allegations of election fraud, all of which have been thoroughly debunked by bodies ranging from auditors to federal courts and agencies. But what exactly did McConnell have to say?

Mitch McConnell has had enough with the 2020 'rehash'

CNN's chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju asked Sen. Mitch McConnell during an October press conference about his feelings on Trump's relationship with the GOP — and their voter base post-January 6's Capitol Riots. While McConnell didn't outright denounce Trump's political motives or ambitions, he emphasized that conservatives needed to stop looking towards the past — or past elections, as was possibly implied — and instead focus on larger gains.

"I do think we need to be thinking about the future and not the past," said McConnell (via The Hill). "I think the American people are focusing on this administration, what it's doing to the country, and it's my hope the '22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020." 

In his own analysis of McConnell's statement, CNN editor Chris Cillizza stated that while McConnell's remarks weren't exactly a condemnation of Trump, it might be the closest McConnell has ever gotten to calling Trump out on his focus on 2020. "It is no simple thing for McConnell to wrench the GOP and its candidates toward a focus on the future rather than staying mired in the past," Cillizza wrote. Nevertheless, McConnell seems to be trying to keep his party forward-focused, which does seem like a direct dig at Trump. Especially that "rehashing 2020" line. We all know what that means.