Mitch McConnell on 'collision course' with Trump as he tries to regain control of the GOP: report
MItch McConnell (AFP)

According to a report from Politico, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is set to battle twice-impeached Donald Trump over who controls the future of the Republican Party after the senator dropped the hammer on the ex-president in a speech after Trump avoided conviction for sedition.

With reports that Trump intends to start going public again after hunkering down at Mar-a-Lago during his Senate impeachment trial, and CNN reporting the ex-president will go on a "retribution tour" against Republicans who voted against him, McConnell wants to put Trump in the rearview mirror and start rebuilding the party.

"McConnell is the de facto leader of the GOP for at least the next two years, as Trump remains exiled in Florida with no real public platform. And though McConnell is done talking about the former president after giving his most critical remarks ever about Trump on Saturday, he's well aware that they may be on a collision course," Politico reports, adding, "McConnell needs to pick up just one Senate seat to become majority leader again, though he's facing perhaps even bigger political headaches than in the Tea Party era. But McConnell made clear in a Saturday evening interview that he will not hesitate to wade into future primary races if a Trump-backed candidate — like, say, Kelli Ward in Arizona or the ex-president's daughter-in-law Lara in North Carolina — threatens his bid to retake the majority."

McConnell made his intentions clear by telling reporters, "I'm not predicting the president would support people who couldn't win. But I do think electability — not who supports who — is the critical point."

One of McConnell's battles -- along with attempting to slow President Joe Biden's agenda -- is reeling in GOP members in the Senate who are still aligning themselves with the twice-impeached ex-president.

"Not everyone listens to the party leader. Just look at Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who challenged the November election results despite McConnell's warnings not to force the issue. Or even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who plans to meet with Trump soon to discuss the future of the party," Politico reports. "Then there's about a half-dozen senators who look to be mulling presidential runs, many under the Trump mantle."

According to one Republican in the House, McConnell's attack on Trump did not sit well at all with every GOP lawmaker.

"A lot of people are frustrated with his comments. I'm not going to sugarcoat it," said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

With that in mind, the report adds, "McConnell and Biggs could very well find themselves on the opposite ends of the spectrum next year in Senate races like the one in Arizona, where a GOP chaired by Ward is struggling to win tough races in what was once a red state. Plus, McConnell said the Senate GOP will stand strongly behind all of its incumbents, including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of seven Republicans voting to convict Trump."

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