Trump claims McConnell needs his endorsement to win

Senate majority leader irked former president by refusing to endorse his false 2020 election claims

John Bowden
Wednesday 26 January 2022 23:45
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Trump hangs up on NPR interviewer when asked about election ‘fraud’

The former president of the United States once again tried to reignite a public battle with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday in an interview with Lou Dobbs, a former Fox News host.

Speaking on the latter’s podcast, Donald Trump reiterated his claim that the long-serving senator from Kentucky only won re-election against his well-funded Democratic opponent, Amy McGrath, due to his endorsement as de facto leader of the GOP.

His remarks came in response to a question from Dobbs about whether Mr McConnell was attempting to drive “friction” between Mr Trump and Ron DeSantis, the GOP governor of Florida who like Mr Trump is widely seen as a potential 2024 candidate for president.

The claim is pure speculation, and likely not valid given that Mr McConnell easily won re-election by nearly 20 per cent of the vote despite Ms McGrath receiving fundraising support from around the nation.

"I get along very well with [Ron DeSantis], McConnell is another story,” Mr Trump said. “Look, I endorsed him, he only won re-election because of me too.”

"If I didn't endorse him, he would've lost," Mr Trump added. "If I don't endorse Mitch McConnell, he loses."

The Independent has reached out to Mr McConnell’s office for comment.

Mr McConnell won’t be up for re-election again until 2024, and is widely seen as having an iron grip on control of the Senate GOP caucus. His effectiveness in the upper chamber has won him many allies in the GOP establishment.

His rivalry with Mr Trump stems from his resistance to the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. While he offered mildly supportive statements of Mr Trump’s legal efforts in public after election day, he was reported to have actively whipped his caucus against support for objections to the certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6.

In the months following the attack on the Capitol he and his caucus resisted efforts to form a bipartisan commission with Democrats to investigate the attack, but Senate leadership has remained in lock-step in rejecting the baseless accusations of massive election fraud spread by Mr Trump and his allies in the weeks and months since his defeat to President Joe Biden.

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