Trump Failing to Ding 'Full Support' McConnell Has to Remain GOP Senate Leader: Romney

Senator Mitt Romney asserted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican, continues to enjoy the "full support" of GOP senators to remain their leader despite the consistent attacks coming from former President Donald Trump.

Ties between McConnell and Trump soured significantly in the wake of the 2020 presidential election and the January 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol. The GOP Senate leader rejected Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen and blamed the former president for inciting his supporters to attack the legislative branch of government. Since then, Trump has repeatedly slammed the Kentucky Republican, while McConnell has brushed aside the constant criticism.

"I think there's full support for Mitch McConnell. I haven't heard anything other than a solid support for his continued leadership," Romney told NBC News' Meet the Press on Sunday.

"People are always trying to placate Donald Trump. I don't fall in that camp, of course. But I wouldn't attribute that as a comment about Mitch McConnell as much as a comment about Donald Trump," added the Republican from Utah.

Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) continues to enjoy "solid support" to remain the GOP's Senate leader, despite attacks from former President Donald Trump. Above, McConnell leaves his office and walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on January 5 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Romney is the only Republican senator to have voted to convict Trump in both of his impeachment trials. He also became the first senator in U.S. history to vote "guilty" against a president of his own political party during Trump's first Senate impeachment trial in February 2020.

The Utah senator's assessment of McConnell's support came after GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—a Trump loyalist—said he would only continue to back McConnell if he mends his relationship with the former president.

"If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump," Graham told Fox News on Wednesday. Continuing, the South Carolina Republican said, "I'm not going to vote for anybody that can't have a working relationship with President Trump."

McConnell told reporters last Tuesday that he plans seek another term as the Republican leader in the Senate. In February, the prominent GOP lawmaker will turn 80.

Although McConnell declined to vote "guilty" in Trump's second impeachment trial regarding the U.S. Capitol attack, he condemned the former president for helping to incite the violence. The Kentucky Republican said he didn't support conviction because he believed the trial was unconstitutional due to Trump no longer being in office when it took place.

"Former President Trump's actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty," McConnell said in a February 2021 Senate floor speech.

"There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President," he said. "And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth."

Trump quickly shot back with an official statement attacking McConnell. "Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," the former president said at the time. "He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country."

Throughout 2021, Trump repeatedly issued statements and remarks criticizing McConnell. In December, the former president argued that the Republican leader was the "best thing that ever happened" to Democrats. For his part, McConnell has generally dismissed or ignored Trump's criticism.

Newsweek reached out to McConnell's spokesperson for comment.