Mitch McConnell Shakes Hands With Trump, Putting Their Feud Behind Them

WASHINGTON ― Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to bury the hatchet with former President Donald Trump on Thursday, giving him a warm reception as he spoke on Capitol Hill with Senate Republicans about the GOP agenda and the 2024 election.

The two men even shook hands, a remarkable turn of events given their icy relationship after Trump sought to overturn his 2020 election loss, culminating in a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“We had a really positive meeting,” McConnell told reporters afterward. “He and I got a chance to talk, we shook hands a few times. He got a lot of standing ovations, it was an entirely positive meeting ... I can’t think of anything to tell you out of it that was negative.”

The meeting, which was held at the National Republican Senatorial Committee near the Capitol, is the first time McConnell has spoken with Trump since December 2020, prior to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.

McConnell publicly tore into the former president for inciting a mob to march on Congress. Trump responded by launching dozens of attacks against McConnell, calling him “a dumb son of a bitch” and even going after his wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, by using racist nicknames.

On Thursday, however, Trump was well-mannered and gracious toward McConnell, praising his vote-counting abilities as longtime Senate GOP leader, a position he is relinquishing after the November elections.

“There were no barbs, there was no kind of like, ‘I told you so,’” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said.

“He said several times, ‘I know some of you, we’ve had our disagreements in the room, but we have those and we work them out.’ He said, ‘I really support all of you.’ It was very, very genial,” Hawley added.

Several of Trump’s GOP critics also attended the meeting, including Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Bill Cassidy (La.) and Todd Young (Ind.).

Romney, who voted to convict Trump in both of his impeachment trials, declined to comment afterward. Cassidy, who voted to convict Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 attack, said he planned to work with Trump if he is elected president.

“It’s my job to work for my state and for the country, and whoever the president is, I’m going to work my darndest to make sure that we’ve worked together for my state and our country,” Cassidy told HuffPost.

Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill was his first since the Jan. 6 insurrection and follows his conviction in New York over falsifying business records in order to hide payments to an adult film star.

Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who investigated Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack, ripped McConnell over his meeting with Trump on Thursday, saying that “history will remember the shame of people like” the Kentucky senator.

But Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a top Trump ally and possible vice presidential running mate, said that the fact that several of the presumptive Republican nominee’s critics joined the meeting showed how the GOP is united behind him.

“No real Republican with any credibility in the party is still blaming him” for the Jan. 6 riot, Vance told reporters. “Frankly, some of his critics were in the room and were supportive and are supportive. So I think it’s a good thing, and the Republican Party is in a good place.”