“Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said as he suggested that the former President could be subject to criminal prosecution.
“He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership,” Trump said.
Still, McConnell’s comments on Thursday underscore the political reality that Trump remains overwhelmingly popular and there is little desire to cast him aside or move on to a new generation of leaders now that he is out of office.
Even Republicans who have most frequently resisted and condemned Trump — including the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney — acknowledge that he remains the GOP’s center of gravity, positioned to remain the party’s standard-bearer if he decides to run for president again in 2024.
CNN’s Eric Bradner and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.