“‘We crushed the sons of bitches. And that’s what we’re going to do in the primary in ’22.’ ”
That colorful language was reportedly uttered by then–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, when he said that the GOP should take down any far-right candidates running in the 2022 midterms similar to the way in which extremists were trounced in 2014.
That’s according to the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future” by New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin. The Washington Post got an advance copy of the tome, which claims McConnell took verbal shots at outgoing President Donald Trump and was “exhilarated” by the prospect of the Jan. 6 riot ruining Trump’s reputation.
“I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow finally, totally discredited himself,” McConnell reportedly said to Martin on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the siege on the Capitol complex by Trump supporters hoping to disrupt congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
Trump “was pretty thoroughly discredited by this,” McConnell reportedly continued before adding that this “couldn’t have happened at a better time.” McConnell was likely referencing the fact that Trump had lost the November election to Biden a month earlier — by well more than 7 million votes — and could be seen as proactively setting the stage for the GOP to move on from Trump and Trumpism.
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The Kentuckian, since January 2021 the Senate minority leader, reportedly went on to look ahead to the midterms this fall.
“We crushed the sons of bitches,” McConnell reportedly said, referencing the 2014 midterms when the Republican Party subdued far-right primary candidates en route to claiming a Senate majority. “And that’s what we’re going to do in the primary in ’22.”
McConnell voted to acquit Trump in the Senate impeachment trial over his alleged incitement of the Capitol riot, though he excoriated the former president for his role in the tragedy immediately after the acquittal. More recently, McConnell has volunteered few thoughts about the former president but has promised to support whomever the Republicans nominate for president in 2024, even if it’s Trump.
Trump, for his part, has been unsparing in his criticism of the minority leader, at one point calling McConnell a “a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack” for failing to support him and his stolen-election claims with sufficient vigor.
A spokesperson for McConnell was not immediately available for comment.