Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters at the Capitol after a meeting at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday appeared to criticize former President Donald Trump’s recent dinner with a white nationalist, saying that anyone who meets with antisemites or white supremacists is “highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”
Driving the news: “There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” McConnell said during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill.
The big picture: McConnell’s remarks come days after former President Trump, who announced his 2024 campaign earlier this month, met with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
- Trump’s meeting with Fuentes and Ye has drew criticism from some GOP senators this week, while other lawmakers have declined to comment on the matter, Axios’ Andrew Solender reports
- On Monday, McConnell had said that he would be “happy” to take questions about the meeting during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
- Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday became the most prominent Republican to condemn the meeting, telling NewsNation that Trump should apologize and “denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric.”
Between the lines: When asked Tuesday whether he would support Trump in 2024 if he wins the Republican nomination, McConnell — who has previously said he would “absolutely” support Trump if he’s the 2024 GOP presidential nominee — reiterated his remarks.
- “Let me just say again, there is simply no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” McConnell said.
- “That would apply to all of the leaders in the party who will be seeking offices,” he added.
Context: McConnell was one of Trump’s staunchest allies during the former president’s singular term in office — but their relationship grew icy in the wake of Trump’s baseless election fraud claims following the 2020 election.
- McConnell, who did not vote to convict Trump during his second impeachment for incitement of insurrection, condemned the former president as “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
- Meanwhile, Trump has in recent years publicly slammed the Republican lawmaker, including earlier this month when he claimed that the midterm outcome — which saw many of Trump’s endorsed candidates lose — was “Mitch McConnell’s fault.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new det