McConnell on Trump's response to protests: 'I'm not going to critique other people's performances'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sidestepped a question about President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE's response to protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, and didn't directly weigh in on the treatment of protesters outside the White House on Monday night.

"I'm not going to critique other people's performances. I can speak for myself, and I just have," McConnell said when asked if Trump was providing the "right kind of leadership" after Floyd's death in police custody.

Asked separately if he was "comfortable" with the "scene" outside the White House, McConnell demurred.


"I've already told you what I think about last night. I'm relieved that apparently there were few to no injuries last night, apparently little or no looting," McConnell said. 

It's not the first time McConnell has declined to weigh in on actions taken by Trump or the White House.

When asked Tuesday morning about Trump saying he could deploy the U.S. military to cities, McConnell did not respond. He was also asked last week by reporters in Kentucky about Trump’s tweet warning that the National Guard would shoot protesters who loot stores and destroy property, but he declined to comment.

The National Guard, U.S. Park Police and Secret Service used rubber bullets and tear gas to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square so that Trump could cross the street to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been set on fire by vandals the night before.

The Washington Post reported that Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump commutes Roger Stone's sentence EU condemns U.S. for resuming federal executions Trump on possible Roger Stone pardon: 'His prayer may be answered' MORE personally ordered for the perimeter near the White House to be extended, pushing protesters away from Lafayette Square.


The decision, law enforcement officials told the publication, was made late Sunday or early Monday, but Barr noticed it had not been completed Monday afternoon and ordered law enforcement to broaden the perimeter.

The tactics have sparked fierce backlash from congressional Democrats, who have compared it to actions taken by a dictator, called it an "abuse of power" and warned that it might be unlawful.

Senate Democrats are introducing a resolution on Tuesday to condemn Trump over the treatment of protesters. They are expected to also try to pass the resolution on Tuesday, though it will likely be blocked by Republicans.

Some GOP senators, including Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump takes on CDC over schools Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Tim Scott says he's talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill MORE (S.C.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (Maine), have broken with the White House. 

But several Senate Republicans have skirted weighing in, telling reporters they had not seen the footage that was widely circulated on TV and social media, or disputing the characterization of actions taken against protesters.