Trump Takes Aim at McConnell for Defending Critics Cheney, Kinzinger

Donald Trump slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for not supporting the Republican National Convention's (RNC) recent censure of two of his GOP critics, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

"Mitch McConnell does not speak for the Republican Party, and does not represent the views of the vast majority of its voters," Trump said in a Wednesday statement. The former president's remarks come a day after McConnell said Cheney and Kinzinger shouldn't have been censured by their party for participating in a House committee's investigation of last year's U.S. Capitol riot.

Although McConnell was once a Trump ally, he has strongly distanced himself from the former president since the January 6 attack on the federal building. Their growing feud has created fissures within the Republican Party, forcing some GOP officials and candidates to tread lightly between them.

Earlier this week, the RNC seemingly sided with Trump again when it censured Cheney and Kinzinger, the January 6 panel's only two Republicans—who also voted to impeach Trump last year. In response, McConnell sent a clear message that he disagreed with the RNC's action, saying the party should support all of its members "regardless of their positions on some issues."

"The issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That's not the job of the RNC," the Kentucky Republican told reporters on Tuesday.

He also disputed the RNC's description of the Capitol riot as "legitimate political discourse." Instead, he said, it was a "violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next. That's what it was."

Mitch McConnell Donald Trump RNC Cheney Kinzinger
Former President Donald Trump has criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for not supporting the Republican National Committee's recent censure of Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Above, McConnell speaks to reporters following a lunch meeting with Senate Republicans on Tuesday. Getty Images/Drew Angerer

In response, Trump repeated his previous criticisms of McConnell, saying that the country would not be "embarrassed" now if the senator had helped him overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

"If Mitch would have fought for the election, like the Democrats would have if 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," Trump said on Wednesday.

"He did nothing to fight for his constituents and stop the most fraudulent election in American history. And he does nothing to stop the lawless Biden Administration, the invasion of our Borders, rising Inflation, Unconstitutional mandates, the persecution of political opponents, fact finding on the incompetent Afghanistan withdrawal, the giving away our energy independence, etc., which is all because of the fraudulent election," he added.

"Instead, he bails out the Radical Left and the RINOs," Trump said.

McConnell has refused to address Trump's present grip on the Republican Party. He has repeatedly reaffirmed that the 2020 presidential race's results were legitimate and wants his party to move past the election and focus its efforts on the 2022 midterms.

However, Trump's ongoing attacks on the senator and his influence on major GOP decisions, like the RNC's censure of Cheney and Kinzinger, continue to challenge McConnell's approach.

Update 02/09/2022, 1:20 p.m. ET: This story was updated with more background and information.