Mitch McConnell deflected a question about Trump's influence on the GOP, saying Republicans should focus on the future and not 'rehash' 2020
- McConnell deflected a question about whether he was comfortable with his party's embrace of Trump.
- But he said he hoped 2022 was "not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday deflected a question about former President Donald Trump's attendance at a GOP retreat last week, urging the party to focus on the future.
Speaking alongside Republican Senate leadership after party caucus lunches, McConnell was asked by CNN's Manu Raju if he was "comfortable" with his party's embrace of Trump, given his prior comments about the former president being "morally responsible" for the Capitol riot.
"Well, I do think we need to be talking about the future, and not the past," McConnell said. "I think the American people are focusing on this administration, what it's doing to the country.
"And it's my hope that the '22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020."
-The Recount (@therecount) October 19, 2021
McConnell's comments come as Trump has sought in recent weeks to reassert his dominance over the GOP.
The former president said last week that Republicans would not vote in upcoming elections if the 2020 one wasn't "solved."
"It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do," Trump said.
On October 15, Trump spoke at the National Republican Senatorial Committee's retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, where he again pushed baseless claims about the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported. Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported from the retreat that Republicans were worried about Trump hurting the GOP's chances of reclaiming the Senate and House by focusing on his 2020 election loss.
And Trump appears to understand the influence his statements are having.
"It could be a problem," Trump told David Drucker of his fixation on the 2020 election before saying it also "could be an asset."
Trump acknowledged in that same interview that he may have contributed to the Republican Party losing two Senate seats in Georgia - and, consequently, control of the Senate.
"They didn't want to vote because they knew they got screwed in the presidential election," Trump said of Georgia Republican voters, continuing to question his roughly 12,000-vote loss in the state.
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