Author: McConnell can’t escape “long arm” of Trump if GOP takes Senate

If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thought he was going to be rid of Donald Trump should the GOP retake the Senate in November, the Kentucky Republican is sadly mistaken, a New York Times reporter who co-authored a book on the 2020 election told CNN.

According to Alex Burns, the “long arm” of Trump will extend to the upper chamber of Congress, where the former president could take responsibility for the victory due to the candidates he endorsed.

“The thin margin by which Republicans may take command of the upper chamber would be decked with candidates beholden to Trump, making it difficult for McConnell, poised to retake the majority leader role, to wriggle free of the former president’s influence,” the Washington Examiner reported.

On CNN Wednesday, Burns — co-author of the recently published “This Shall Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future” — said despite McConnell’s hope Trump would fade away, the former president is still going to exert a considerable influence.

“Mitch McConnell in so many ways [is] Exhibit A of Republicans who wish Trump would just fade away and finds now that’s not the case at all,” Burns said.

“If Republicans take back the Senate majority this year, Jake, there’s a very strong chance the margin of control for Mitch McConnell will be candidates hand-picked by Donald Trump.”

Burns’ book, co-authored with Jonathan Martin, revealed sensitive conversations top Republicans had about Trump in the days after Jan. 6, 2021 in which many wanted him to resign and accept responsibility for the Capitol riot.’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is one of those, apparently having told Republicans he wanted Trump to resign immediately. “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told Republican leaders, according a recording of his remarks obtained by The New York Times.

Rep. McCarthy, a California Republican, quickly patched his relationship up with former President Trump, however — although what he was saying after Jan. 6 has brought new pressures on the minority leader with Beltway conservatives and other Trump backers.

“And as Kevin McCarthy has found in recent weeks after the reporting from this book became public, the long arm of Donald Trump is very long indeed,” Burns told Jake Tapper. “And those endorsements, that support, that indulgence from the former president does not come for free.”

McConnell, meanwhile, finds himself as a more likely target for Trump’s ire after the book’s release.

The book claims McConnell told a reporter, hours after the Jan. 6 riot, that he was “exhilarated” at Trump’s apparent downfall.

After the impeachment of Trump for incitement of the Capitol riot failed, he delivered a blistering speech from the Senate floor blaming the former president for the events of that day.

Neither have patched together any relationship and, in the wake of the book’s release, McConnell made no attempt to court the former president’s forgiveness, telling reporters he “doesn’t need to” make a comment because the former president has no effect on his leadership post.

Even before the book was release, Trump bestowed the moniker “Old Crow” on McConnell; the Senate minority leader has embraced the nickname, reportedly giving bottles of Old Crow bourbon to other GOP senators as gifts in an attempt to rile Trump.

However, if the GOP retakes the Senate with the help of Trump-backed candidates like J.D. Vance in Ohio and Herschel Walker in Georgia, he might consider discontinuing the practice.