Mitch McConnell Stays Mum as Trump Lashes Out Over GOP Future

Donald Trump can't stop lashing out at Mitch McConnell, but the Republican leader isn't returning the fire.

In the past week, the former president has slammed McConnell as an "Old Crow" who doesn't represent the GOP after the senator described the U.S. Capitol riot as a "violent insurrection." McConnell hasn't responded publicly to Trump's recent statements.

The feud between the former president and the Senate minority leader comes as Republicans chart a course for the party's future in the 2022 midterm election cycle. The GOP is looking to regain majority control of Congress this November as Democrats currently enjoy narrow advantages in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Trump is putting his thumb on the scale in dozens of races, touting his endorsements as the "strongest" in political history. Polls show the former president is still an influential figure among conservative voters, with a sizable portion saying they'd support him again if he decided to run for the White House in 2024.

But McConnell is reportedly working quietly to thwart Trump's 2022 efforts. Trump has preferred to endorse candidates who support him or his false claims about the 2020 election, which has led to him backing primary challengers against GOP incumbents—a move party strategists have warned could be disastrous.

According to the New York Times, McConnell and his allies are actively recruiting potential candidates to go up against Trump-endorsed individuals. McConnell referred to some of Trump's choices as "goofballs," the Times said.

"Mitch McConnell does not speak for the Republican Party, and he does not represent the views of the vast majority of its voters," Trump told his supporters in an email on February 13. The email asked respondents to check whether they want McConnell to be the next Senate majority leader.

"If Mitch had fought for the election like the Democrats would have if they were in the same position, we would not be discussing any of the above today, and our Country would be STRONG and PROUD instead of weak and embarrassed," the message read.

Trump has also accused McConnell of doing "nothing to stop the lawless Biden Administration."

McConnell Stays Mum As Trump Lashes Out
Donald Trump can’t stop lashing out at Mitch McConnell, but the Republican leader isn’t returning the fire. In this photo, Trump speaks a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds on January 15, 2022 in Florence, Arizona. Mario Tama/Getty Images

McConnell did brush off Trump's attempt to oust him from leadership during an interview earlier this month with the Washington Examiner, telling the outlet to try to find another Republican senator who wants to depose him. The Examiner said that no Senate Republican has supported removing McConnell. "That's the answer to your question," McConnell replied.

Political strategists previously told Newsweek that "it's quite a dance" McConnell has to do this election cycle as he tries to capitalize on popular Trump-era policies without embracing the former president himself. Scott Jennings, a Kentucky-based strategist with ties to McConnell, said he believed the senator will avoid a "public squabble" with Trump because that would distract from making the elections a referendum on the Democratic Party.

"I think you have to approach this with the view that all McConnell cares about is can we get to 51-plus in November?" Jennings said.

Newsweek reached out to McConnell's office for comment but didn't receive a response before publication.