McConnell called Trump ‘a fading brand’ and said ‘sucking up’ to him ‘is not a strategy that works’: book

Trump McConnell
Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with President Donald Trump on July 20, 2020. Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called former President Donald Trump a “fading brand.”
  • “Sucking up to Donald Trump is not a strategy that works,” he said, according to the new book “Peril.”
  • McConnell blamed Trump for lying to Americans about the election and provoking the Capitol riot.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called former President Donald Trump a “fading brand” and insisted that the Republican party is moving away from the former president, according to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book, “Peril.”

McConnell called Trump an “OTTB as they say in Kentucky – off-the-track Thoroughbred” during a conversation with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who McConnell dubbed the “Trump whisperer.”

“‘There is a clear trend moving,’ McConnell said, toward a place where the GOP is not dominated by Trump. McConnell added, “Sucking up to Donald Trump is not a strategy that works,'” Woodward and Costa wrote.

McConnell noted that he might face conflict with Trump if the former president endorses Senate candidates that the leader and other Republicans don’t support.

“The only place I can see Trump and me actually at loggerheads would be if he gets behind some clown who clearly can’t win,” McConnell said. “To have a chance of getting the Senate back, you have to have the most electable candidates possible.”

McConnell publicly blamed Trump for provoking the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, calling the then-president “practically and morally responsible” for the deadly attack.

“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said in a speech from the Senate floor on Jan. 19. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like.”

But he ultimately did not vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot.

Since leaving office, Trump has repeatedly attacked McConnell, calling him “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” in one February statement.