McConnell shuts down Trump questions: ‘I’m just simply going to stay out of it’

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., pauses while speaking to the media after a weekly policy luncheon, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Washington. "Everybody ought to tone down their rhetoric," said McConnell. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

McConnell shuts down Trump questions: ‘I’m just simply going to stay out of it’

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to weigh in on Donald Trump or his indictment on Tuesday as the former president pleaded not guilty to federal charges at a Miami courthouse.

McConnell sidestepped questions at his weekly press conference on whether he would support Trump should he become the Republican nominee.

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“Look, the Republican campaign for the nomination [has] already been going on for six months. It’s going be going on for a year longer, and I’m just simply not going to comment on the candidate,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of them, and I’m just simply going to stay out of it.”

McConnell declined to comment on the indictment itself when asked again.

“Simply, as I said earlier, I’m not going to start commenting on all the various candidates we have running for president. There are a lot. It’s going to be interesting to watch, and I look forward to seeing your coverage,” he said.

McConnell spoke to reporters as Trump appeared in a Miami courthouse and pleaded not guilty to 37 felony charges related to his improper handling of classified White House documents. The charges include willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

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McConnell and Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) have treaded lightly in light of the latest indictment and have made no secret about their desire to move past the former president. This is in stark contrast with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has embraced Trump and even credited the former president for helping him secure the speaker’s gavel.

“I think there are a lot of people across the country [who] have skepticism about the standards of justice and how they’re applied and wanting to make sure that they’re playing equally,” Thune said to reporters on Monday. “They’ve got a very high burden of proof, but the allegations are serious.”

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