Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that former President Donald Trump could play a “constructive” role for Republicans after his acquittal for allegedly inciting the Capitol riot.
“I don’t rule out the prospect that [Trump] may well be supporting good candidates,” McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Wall Street Journal when asked what role he saw for Trump in GOP politics.
“I’m not assuming that, to the extent the former president wants to continue to be involved, he won’t be a constructive part of the process.”
McConnell tore into Trump on Saturday, despite voting for acquittal, and said he was “practically and morally responsible” for the violence on Jan. 6. But McConnell voted to acquit Trump on constitutional grounds and has sought to avoid Republican in-fighting.
McConnell told the Journal that he cares most about supporting electable Republicans in 2022 as he hopes to reclaim the Senate, which is currently divided 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties in favor of Democrats.
“I personally don’t care what kind of Republican they are, what kind of lane they consider themselves in,” he said. “What I care about is electability.”
Trump said Saturday after his acquittal: “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you.”
On Monday, Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted a video of hundreds of Trump fans rallying along a road in Florida to support Trump on Presidents’ Day. Because he was acquitted by the Senate, he’s eligible to run again for president in 2024.
Trump recently met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) who had also accused Trump of being responsible for the riot that killed five. Trump told McCarthy he would work to help Republicans flip the House, where Democrats have a thin majority.
But Senate races could become a power struggle between pro- and anti-Trump wings of the party.
Trump has publicly called for a primary challenge against No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota, who is up for re-election in 2022. Thune was not among the seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump.
Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who did vote to convict Trump, is up for re-election, and there are open seats currently held by pro-conviction Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.