McConnell brushes off Trump criticism: 'We're looking to the future, not the past'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (R-Ky.) brushed off criticism from former President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE on Thursday, signaling that he thinks the party needs to move on. 

"Well look, we're looking to the future, not the past. And if you want to see the future of the Republican Party watch Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill MORE's response to President BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE last night," McConnell said during a Fox News interview on Thursday. 

"He's the future. That's where we're headed. We're not preoccupied with the past but looking forward," he added. 


McConnell's remarks come after Trump doubled down on his criticism of McConnell.

Asked by Fox Business’s Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoTrump says he would not impose boycott against Beijing Olympics The Memo: Omicron poses huge threat to Biden presidency Fox's Bartiromo called Bill Barr 'screaming' about election fraud: book MORE how Republicans will fare in the 2022 elections, Trump said he expects GOP candidates to do very well but said the party needs new leadership in the Senate.

“I think we’re going to do very well. We need good leadership. Mitch McConnell has not done a great job, I think they should change Mitch McConnell,” Trump said during the interview Thursday morning. 

McConnell and Trump are polar opposite personalities but were strong allies through most of the previous administration, with the Senate GOP leader frequently refusing to weigh in on some of Trump's biggest scandals. 

But their relationship unraveled late last year and the two haven't spoken since mid-December.


Senate Republicans have blamed Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud for damaging them in Georgia, where the losses cost them the Senate majority. Though McConnell voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial, he also denounced him from the Senate floor as "morally responsible" for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, where a pro-Trump mob breached the building for hours. 

Despite Trump's remarks, McConnell's grip on the Senate GOP caucus remains solid. Asked on Thursday if he was concerned that GOP voters listened to Trump's comments about him, McConnell sidestepped, reiterating that "what we're doing is focusing on the future." 

Even as McConnell is signaling that he's eager to turn the page, he said Thursday that he will support the GOP's White House nominee in 2024, even if it's Trump. 

"Well I'm going to support the nominee of the Republican Party. I do predict however that there's going to be a robust competition for the nomination," he said, noting that several members of his own caucus are eyeing a run. 

"Once that all sorts itself out, as the Republican leader of the Senate obviously I'll be supporting the Republican nominee for president," he added.