As Donald Trump's 2024 Chances Increase, Mitch McConnell Sounds the Alarm

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that the upcoming 2022 midterm elections should not be a "rehash" of the 2020 presidential election in comments that appeared to take aim at former President Donald Trump.

McConnell made the remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday when he was asked about the Republican Party "embracing" the former president following the January 6 Capitol riot.

Republicans are hoping to regain control of the Senate next year and possibly the House of Representatives as well, while many in the GOP still see Trump as the party's leader and he has continued to push unfounded claims of voter fraud in the last presidential election.

CNN's Manu Raju asked McConnell if he was "concerned at all, comfortable, with your party embracing the former president whom you said was morally responsible for the January 6 attack?"

"Well, I do think we need to be talking about the future and not the past," McConnell said.

"I think the American people are focusing on this administration, what it's doing to the country," he said. "And it's my hope that 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."

Republicans need to flip just one seat in order to retake the Senate and see McConnell become majority leader again but Trump has repeatedly framed the 2022 midterm elections in terms of his claims about voter fraud in 2020.

Trump remains hugely popular in the Republican Party and a series of polls has shown GOP voters strongly favor him for the party's 2024 presidential nomination. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted from October 15 to 18 found 78 percent of Republicans wanted Trump to run for office in the next presidential cycle.

His chances of winning the GOP nomination appear high and President Joe Biden's recent difficulties and declining approval rating may provide a boost to Trump's ambitions. Two major bookmakers last week named Trump the favorite to win in 2024 in what could be a sign of his improving position.

The former president has also publicly criticized McConnell and called Senate Republicans to replace him and find a new leader. He has linked that criticism to unfounded claims of election fraud.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asked by @mkraju if he’s comfortable with GOP embracing Trump after he incited the Capitol insurrection.

McConnell says 2022 election should be referendum on Biden, not a “rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020.” pic.twitter.com/s4L4T7qvgu

— The Recount (@therecount) October 19, 2021

"Mitch McConnell should have challenged that election because even back then, we had plenty of material to challenge that election. He should have challenged the election. [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer would have. McConnell didn't have the courage," Trump told rallygoers in Iowa on October 9.

At the same rally, Trump urged supporters to vote in the midterm elections, saying: "We must send the radical left a message they will never forget."

His Iowa event was seen by many in the context of a Trump run in 2024. Iowa is the first state in the country to vote on presidential candidates and a poll from The Des Moines Register released before the rally showed 53 percent of Iowans had a favorable view of Trump.

Following the deadly Capitol riot on January 6, McConnell said: "President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day." McConnell also opposed a move aimed at challenging the Electoral College results in an effort to prevent the certification of Biden's win.

Photo Composite Shows McConnell and Trump
This composite image shows Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump. McConnell has said he doesn't want the midterm elections to be a "rehash" of 2020.