Mitch McConnell's Condemnation of Donald Trump Firmly at Odds with GOP Consensus

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion former President Donald Trump is "practically and morally responsible" for provoking the violence of January 6 stands firmly at odds with the opinion of most Republicans asked in recent polling.

While the Kentucky Republican voted to acquit Trump, he said this was a decision based on the constitutionality of the trial and still criticized the former president—even suggesting he could face consequences through other legal means.

Following this, Trump lashed out at McConnell in a scathing statement branding him a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," and suggesting he was at fault for the GOP losing its Senate majority.

As McConnell and Trump's feud plays out, in terms of public opinion most Republican supports reject the suggestion of the former president being at fault for the storming of the Capitol.

In YouGov/The Economist polling carried out February 13 to 16, 1,500 U.S. adults were asked how much responsibility they felt Trump had for "the takeover of the Capitol" and also asked whether they thought Trump did "anything wrong during the takeover of the Capitol."

Overall, 51 percent answered yes to the latter question. However, among Republicans 76 percent of those asked said no he did not do anything wrong.

On the responsibility point, overall 45 percent said Trump had a lot of responsibility for the events and 10 percent said some. But among Republicans, 59 percent said he had none. Less than one in 10, eight percent, of Republicans said a lot and around one in 10, 11 percent, said some.

Amid speculation of Trump potentially running in 2024, most Republicans asked also said he should be allowed to do so. Of those polled, 84 percent said yes when asked: "Do you think former President Trump should be allowed to run for President again?"

Separate polling has indicated many Republicans still want Trump to remain a leader in the GOP going forward.

The contrast among Republicans' views and McConnell's comments comes as he also struggles with a falling approval rating, according to recent surveys.

In Trump's statement on McConnell he suggested he could back a primary challenger aligned with his views against him in future. He also suggested leaders such as McConnell could hamper the GOP down the line.

Speaking on Newsmax on Wednesday, he continued his criticism of McConnell.

"The Republicans are soft. They only hit their own, like Mitch," he said, suggesting Republicans should focus on criticizing Democratic rivals.

McConnell's statements on Trump have also sparked pushback from some GOP lawmakers, with several Republicans criticizing him.

Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) previously called for the feud to end and said he would tell McConnell Republicans will not regain a Senate majority without Trump's support. He also suggested the feud between Trump and McConnell should be ended.

Newsweek has commented McConnell's office and the Office of the Former President for comment.

mitch mcconnell leaving the capitol
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs after the day's proceedings in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on February 10, 2021 in Washington, D.C. He voted to acquit Trump but said the former president held responsibility for the events of January 6. He has since faced criticism from Trump. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images