- Hours after the Jan. 6 riot, Mitch McConnell pledged to weed out far-right candidates in 2022.
- “We crushed the sons of bitches,” he said, “and that’s what we’re going to do in the primary in ’22.”
- The comments come in a forthcoming book by NYT reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin.
In the hours following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tore into President Donald Trump and vowed to weed out far-right candidates who are running in the 2022 midterm elections, according to a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Alexander Burns. and Jonathan Martin.
As the Kentucky Republican prepared to leave the Capitol in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2021, he brushed off Martin and briefly mentioned his intentions to quash Trump’s influence in the GOP.
“He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger,” McConnell said of Trump’s role on Jan. 6. “It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
McConnell then referenced the 2014 midterm elections and his party’s success in fending off far-right extremist candidates and winning back a majority in the Senate.
“We crushed the sons of bitches,” McConnell said, “and that’s what we’re going to do in the primary in ’22.”
“I feel elated that this man has finally completely discredited himself,” he added, referring to Trump.
The comments were reported Monday by The Washington Post, which obtained an advance copy of the book, titled “This Will Not Pass.” The book, which looks at the 2020 election on January 6 and the start of President Joe Biden’s term, comes out next Tuesday.
A spokesperson for McConnell did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
McConnell’s position does not appear to have changed in the 15 months since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to recent remarks from the Kentucky Republican who is now the Senate Minority Leader. Unlike some Republicans who remain close Trump allies, McConnell has signaled that he doesn’t see the former president as key to winning back the Senate majority and wants to steer clear of extremists.
The Republican leader told Punchbowl News in an interview last month that the party aims to have “elected nominees” in every competitive state this year and avoid controversial candidates, referring to far-right candidates defeated in recent elections.
“What you think of former President Trump is irrelevant,” he said.
In an interview with Axios earlier this month, McConnell also pointed out that it was crucial for GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a moderate who criticized Trump, to win her re-election bid. Trump has endorsed former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka to unseat her.
“It’s important that Lisa gets re-elected. She’s one of the few kind of moderates in the middle of the Senate,” McConnell said. “We will do everything to make it succeed.”
Overall, McConnell has largely avoided talking about Trump since leaving office last year and rallied Senate Republicans to stay focused on 2022. The Republican National Senate Committee, the arm of Senate campaign that endorsed incumbents like Murkowski, raised $43 million in the first quarter of this year.
“Senate Republicans have the war chest and the enthusiasm to oust the radical Democrats from the Senate in November,” NRSC Chairman Rick Scott said in a statement this month.