McConnell Staying Focused on Schumer, Winning Back Senate, Not Fighting With Trump


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Though former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have had their differences, the Kentucky Republican indicated on Friday that he is remaining focused not on any political feuds but rather on regaining control of the chamber.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier’s “Special Report,” McConnell’s response to a question from the host suggests he’s concentrating on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the New York Democrat’s party.

Asked if he believes the former president will have any influence on the outcome of the 2022 midterms, McConnell responded: “I think the midterm election almost certainly is going to be a referendum on the party in power.”

Historically, the party controlling the Executive Branch suffers electoral setbacks during midterm elections, but this year is expected to be especially brutal for Democrats because, under President Biden, inflation has reached near-historic levels, gas and food prices are much higher, and a worsening supply chain crisis has left store shelves barren and contractors waiting up to a year or more for products and components.

All of those things have combined to tank approval ratings for both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, with analysts predicting that key ‘kitchen table’ issues like inflation, rising energy prices, and escalating food costs are very likely to continue throughout the year.

Fox News adds:


Pointing out that the Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House, McConnell emphasized that “they are in charge of governing and these midterm elections are always a report on the performance of those who are in charge, those are who are governing.”

After McConnell avoided mentioning Trump when Baier followed up with another question about the former president, the Fox News host remarked to the Senate GOP leader that “there were two questions about former President Trump. I noticed you didn’t talk about him.” 

“Midterm elections are very rarely, if ever, a referendum on the former president. They’re almost always a judgment on the current administration,” longtime GOP strategist Colin Reed told Fox News.

A vet of several Senate campaigns, Reed added that “you are looking at a sitting incumbent president with approval numbers both nationally and in key states sinking into the low 30s… it’s a no-brainer” for McConnell and other Republicans to remain focused solely on the president and his Democratic Party.

And Reed, a veteran of multiple Senate campaigns, noted that if “you are looking at a sitting incumbent president with approval numbers both nationally and in key states sinking into the low 30s… it’s a no-brainer” for McConnell and Republicans running this year to stay laser focused on Biden and congressional Democrats.

Also, when he was asked in recent days about the GOP Senate agenda if the party is in control come January 2023, McConnell simply responded, “I’ll let you know when we take it back.”

As for the rift between him and Trump, the Senate minority leader continues to concentrate instead at the job at hand: Defeating Democrats.


Asked about the former president’s criticisms, a strategist who is associated with McConnell’s team told Fox News that “Democrats and the liberal media will do anything to change the subject from inflation, empty grocery shelves, and Biden’s inability to manage either, but you’ll never see McConnell take their bait.”

Veteran GOP communicator and former Republican National Committee communications director Doug Heye told the network that McConnell’s strategy is the right one, adding that the GOP Senate leader is instructing Republicans running for election or reelection to remain laser-focused on “pocketbook” issues that impact voters most.

Heye said, “when Biden is at 43 percent, 39, percent, 41 percent, pick your number on a given day, it would be political insanity to take your eye off the ball.”