McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight House sets up Senate shutdown showdown Biden says he doesn't believe a government shutdown will happen MORE (Ky.) urged his party to focus on President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE heading into 2022, and not relitigating the 2020 election that former President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE still falsely claims was stolen.

McConnell, speaking to reporters during a weekly press conference, was asked if he was comfortable with the party embracing Trump. The former president was at a retreat over the weekend for Senate Republicans' campaign arm and endorsed Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP blocks bill to expand gun background checks after Michigan school shooting GOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks MORE (R) for reelection in Iowa earlier this month.

“Well, I do think we need to be talking about the future, not the past,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.

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“I think the American people are focusing on this administration. ... It’s my hope that 2022 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash about suggestions of what may have happened in 2020,” McConnell added.

The GOP leader's comments come as Trump and some of his closest allies have continued to claim that that there was widespread election fraud last year, something Republican congressional hopefuls who align themselves with the former president have also echoed.

McConnell dismissed those assertions in a floor speech earlier this year, saying that there wasn’t evidence of fraud “anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped this entire election.”

Since then, however, McConnell has largely stayed away from talking about Trump, who has continued to trash talk him and called for his ouster as Senate GOP leader.

"Mitch McConnell should have challenged that election because even back then, we had plenty of material to challenge that election. He should have challenged the election," Trump said at an Iowa rally where Grassley and other top GOP officials appeared.