McConnell Focused on GOP Retaking Senate, Not Differences With Trump

McConnell Focused on GOP Retaking Senate, Not Differences With Trump Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-ky., leaves his office and walks to the Senate floor. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 27 January 2022 10:20 AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., so far has refused to let anything deflect his focus on trying to ensure that the GOP regains control of the Senate in November.

That includes former President Donald Trump, who regularly criticizes McConnell, and the party's 2023 agenda if Republicans take control of Congress.

"As a political matter, as a strategic matter, it makes little sense to go down this rabbit hole. … He’s far too disciplined to allow himself to be distracted,” former McConnell campaign adviser Scott Jennings told The Hill.

"It's the same thing on Trump. … He just won't take the bait. He's just never going to allow himself to be knocked off of his strategic path and the path here is very clear: Keep Joe Biden and his failures at the center of the conversation of this election. Period."

The 80-year-old McConnell, who has been Senate Republican leader since 2007, is living up to his reputation as being strategic, cautious and tight-lipped — even when it comes to Trump, who constantly slams the leader.

Trump was angered by McConnell congratulating President Joe Biden for winning the 2020 election, which Trump says was stolen, and for blasting the former president after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The two men differ when it comes to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who's running for reelection. Trump is aiming to defeat her after she voted to convict him during the February impeachment trial.

McConnell is supporting Murkowski, as well as trying to persuade two other Trump targets — Gov. Doug Ducey, R-Ariz., and Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md. — into running for the Senate, The Hill said.

The leader downplayed his differences with Trump to CNN by saying they agreed in Nevada and Georgia, while saying Alaska was "one place where the former President and I have a disagreement."

McConnell also remains coy when asked about a possible 2023 GOP agenda.

"That is a very good question. And I'll let you know when we take it back," McConnell told reporters recently, The Hill reported.

"This midterm election will be a report card on the performance of this entire Democratic government: the President, the House and the Senate. … Make no mistake about it, the election this fall is a referendum on this all-Democratic government."

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