Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have said Donald Trump was ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the Jan. 6 uprising, but he admits there was nothing the former president could do to stop it to support Trump if he were nominated in 2024.
In a new interview, the Kentucky Republican told Axios.com reporter Jonathan Swan that his The obligation to “support my party’s nominee” extends to Trump despite widespread evidence suggesting the former president conspired to overthrow the 2020 election.
McConnell made similar comments about backing a 2024 Trump bid, but his most recent comments came after Swan asked McConnell about his “moral red lines.”
“Help me figure this out,” Swan said. “I looked at your speech last year in February on the Senate floor after Donald Trump’s second impeachment vote.
Swan was surprised that McConnell could support a man he called “morally responsible” for an attack on the US Capitol.
“After you said that about him, I think it’s amazing!” said Swan.
“I think I have an obligation to support my party’s candidate,” McConnell explained.
Swan wondered if there was anything a Republican candidate could do that would lose McConnell’s support.
The senator could think of nothing.
“Well, that will mean whoever the nominee came out and earned the nomination,” McConnell explained.
Swan then pointed out that McConnell was apparently holding “two competing conflicting positions”, but McConnell insisted that he was not at all “incoherent”.
“I stand by everything I said…because I can’t choose the Republican candidate for president. They are elected by Republican voters across the country,” McConnell said.
After Swan noted that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said she believes “there are more important things than party loyalty,” McConnell said, “Well, maybe you should talk to Liz Cheney.”
Swan then insisted that her question was not meant to be a “gotcha”.
“Actually, I’m trying to understand. Is there a threshold for you? Swan asked.
“You know, I say a lot of things that I’m sure people don’t understand,” McConnell replied.
You can see the full interview below: