McConnell continues to blame ‘quality’ of Trump-endorsed candidates for midterm losses

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is continuing his vengeful, acidic rhetoric against former President Trump by claiming that his primary endorsements “proved to be very decisive” and basically cost the Republicans the Senate in the midterm elections.

(Video Credit: NBC News)

McConnell did the political version of “I told you so” in front of the cameras on Tuesday, reminding everyone that he said during the summer that “candidate quality” was important and that he never said there would be a red wave. He laid the blame squarely on Trump for his choice of nominees, mentioning a number of states.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell told NBC News back in August. “Senate races are just different. They’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

At the time, everyone knew the remark was a veiled jab at Trump. Democrats in the end wound up maintaining control of the Senate and gaining a seat, although now that Kyrsten Sinema has left the party, that is a moot point.

Trump’s picks that lost included Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Blake Masters in Arizona, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, and Herschel Walker in Georgia.


“Looking back at ’22, some of you may recall, I never said there was a red wave,” McConnell told reporters at a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. “I said we had a bunch of close races and looking at each race separately, I wasn’t making that up. We had a bunch of close races. We ended up having a candidate quality time [sic]. Anybody remember who mentioned that back in August? Look at Arizona, look at New Hampshire, and a challenging situation in Georgia as well.”

McConnell pounded home once again the need to run “quality candidates.”

“We had an opportunity to re-learn – one more time – you have to have quality candidates to win competitive Senate races,” McConnell asserted before listing Republican Senate nominees who failed in previous election cycles. “We went through this in 2010, 2012 – Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock – and unfortunately revisited that situation in 2022.”

Then came the finger-pointing at Trump. McConnell has dropped his pretense of supporting the former president as of late and has, for all intents and purposes, sided with the Democrats against him.

“Our ability to control a primary outcome was quite limited in [2022] because the support of the former president proved to be very decisive in these primaries,” he told reporters during his weekly press conference at the Capitol while grandstanding for the cameras. “So my view was: do the best you can with the cards you’re dealt.”

“Hopefully in the next cycle, we’ll have quality candidates everywhere and a better outcome,” he stated.

McConnell, sounding very much like a Democrat, claimed that his affiliated super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, intervened in two primaries in Alabama and Missouri, but he said there was little Senate GOP leaders could do in races where Trump endorsed MAGA-style candidates or Republicans who claimed the 2020 election was stolen.

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