BEDMINSTER, New Jersey — Former President Donald Trump told Breitbart News exclusively that he believes Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s obvious health issues mean the longtime Kentucky senator should not continue to lead Senate Republicans and that the party needs a fresh face atop the conference.
Trump said during an exclusive nearly hourlong interview at his golf club in northern New Jersey on Thursday evening that he saw the video of McConnell having some kind of health episode during a Wednesday press conference.
“I did,” Trump said when asked if he saw the video of McConnell at the press conference, which showed the Senate GOP leader trailing off mid-sentence before other Senate Republicans escorted him to his office. Shortly after, McConnell returned to the podium and made more comments — but news broke later that since a brutal fall down the steps at a hotel earlier this year McConnell has had several other major health incidents including a previously unreported fall at the airport in earlier in July. While they are currently publicly supporting McConnell, Republican senators are reportedly privately very concerned the ailing Senate GOP leader is in trouble in the long haul.
WATCH — Mitch McConnell Freezes Mid-Speech, Led Away from Podium:
Trump, when asked to give his thoughts about McConnell’s health issues, said he thought it was “sad”— but also ripped McConnell’s efforts to help Democrat President Joe Biden the past several years with major agenda items including passage of key portions of Biden’s agenda. Given the Senate’s filibuster rules, Biden needed at least 10 Republican senators to vote for major pieces of his spending agenda the first two years of his presidency even though Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. Since Republicans retook the House in the 2022 midterm elections those increases in spending have screeched to a halt — but during Biden’s first two years of his presidency, Senate Republicans under McConnell’s leadership enabled increases of trillions of dollars in spending by voting to advance legislation in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“I thought it was sad,” Trump said. “At the same time, I think it’s a shame he went so far out to give Green New Deal money to Biden and Democrats. He got 10 people to vote because they needed 10 people, and he got 10 people to vote on numerous occasions for trillions of dollars. I think that’s a shame. But that was too bad. That was a sad thing to see. He had a bad fall, I guess, and probably an after-effect of that. But it was also sad that he gave trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars to the Democrats to waste on the Green New Deal, destroying our oceans and destroying our great, beautiful vistas and plains all over our country with windmills that are very expensive energy. So that’s a very sad thing also.”
Trump also told Breitbart News that he believes McConnell should step aside and Senate Republicans should find a better leader.
“We have to have that,” Trump said when asked if Senate Republicans need a new leader. “No, we have to have that. We have some people in the Senate that are fantastic and would be great at that position. But it’s just amazing he [McConnell] would do that — but at the same time, I hope he’s well.”
Asked who he thinks would be a better Senate leader than McConnell, Trump did not name a specific person but did note he has “a lot of great relationships” in both the Senate and the House. As of now, a total of 10 U.S. senators have endorsed Trump in 2024. They include National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Ted Budd (R-NC), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN). As for governors, Trump has the endorsement of both South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. In the House, Trump has dozens of — nearly 70 — endorsements.
“I have a lot of great relationships with the Senate and with the House — probably with the House even more so,” Trump said. “The House, on the impeachment hoax, they voted unanimous — I think it was 196 to nothing, the Republicans were. Jim Jordan and all of the people — I think Jamie Comer is doing a great job. Jim Jordan. You have a lot of people in the House doing a great job. Matt Gaetz is doing really well. He’s a tough cookie and he’s doing really well. Marjorie Taylor Greene has done really, really well. A lot of people like what she has to say — a lot of people.”
Trump also touted his endorsement record in the 2022 midterm elections when asked if he intends to be similarly engaged in the 2024 down-ticket races. Trump has gotten criticized from some Republicans for some of the candidates he backed in 2022 who did not end up winning in the general election, but he is correct that his endorsement was extremely influential in both primaries and general elections in 2022. In fact, several of the people he endorsed won critical senate races, such as Budd in North Carolina, Mullin in Oklahoma, Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) in Alabama, Schmitt in Missouri, and Vance in Ohio. Trump’s pick for governor in Nevada, Joe Lombardo, was the only Republican nationwide to flip a governor’s mansion in 2022 from Democrat control to GOP control.
“I’m at almost 99 percent — almost 99 percent — in endorsements in the Republican Party for primaries which is pretty amazing,” Trump said. “A lot of those people don’t have a good chance — you know that — I’ve endorsed people who have no chance. [Ron] DeSantis is one — take a look at DeSantis. He had no chance until I endorsed him. He wouldn’t be — he would right now be at a law firm or working at a pizza place. Many others, I don’t want to mention names, but they wouldn’t be there, and some I helped. Some I helped, and some I got elected. But it’s 99 percent when you think of it. It’s pretty incredible, but what people don’t know is I was 233 wins out of 253 in the midterms. Now, I didn’t endorse everybody — but the people I endorsed won. In the midterms, I’m talking about, and I don’t get credit for the success we had. You know they talk about one or two or three, but I was 233 out of 253. That is pretty amazing — and you can check with Brian Jack on the numbers, who you know and respect. So I really did great in the midterms. I didn’t endorse everybody. A lot of them I didn’t believe in or just didn’t happen to get to endorse them but 233 out of 253 is pretty good I’ll tell you.”
Trump did not elaborate too much on it during this interview, but as for his 2024 down-ticket engagement he has already endorsed Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) for U.S. Senate in Indiana and has spoken very favorably of people such as Justice who is running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, and businessman Bernie Moreno who is running for U.S. Senate in Ohio even though he has yet to formally endorse in those races. Trump has also been working closely with Daines, the NRSC chairman and Senate leader charged with leading Republican efforts to retake the Senate, on the 2024 map.