An Investigation: Who Is Mitch McConnell Condemning?

While criticizing meetings with antisemites, the top Republican refuses to say the name of the guy who famously met with antisemites.

Cliff Owen/ZUMA

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One week after Donald Trump entertained an unrepentant antisemite and white nationalist at his Mar-a-Lago residence, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has offered an uncharacteristically harsh assessment of the former president’s hopes for reelection. Or at least that was the implication.

“First, let me just say that there is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” the top Republican told reporters on Tuesday. “Anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, is highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

The remarks, which arrived unprompted, signaled the highest level of condemnation after Trump confirmed his meeting with Holocaust denier, Nick Fuentes, at Mar-a-Lago last week. To be sure, McConnell’s comments are extraordinary in their unvarnished display of GOP infighting, as well as an attack all but certainly directed at the man still viewed as a powerful party head despite his poor performance during the midterms. But they’re still miles away from a full-fledged disavowal. 

In fact, where are “Donald” and “Trump” in McConnell’s remarks blasting the man who recently linked antisemitism and the GOP at his private Florida club? Why is the statement written as aspirational rather than an unequivocal moral condemnation? And why can’t McConnell, who declined to unequivocally defend his wife against Trump’s anti-Asian attacks, provide a straightforward answer to perhaps the most important question of all: Will he support Trump if he captures the Republican nomination? Here’s what he offered instead:

McConnell’s unexpectedly blunt remarks today do appear to mark a significant shift in the lines of 2024’s sand. But based on what was still missing, we’ll see if the top Republican is willing to be slightly less mealymouthed the next time Trump does something horrible in this post-midterms juncture.

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