Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) allowed his apparent disdain for former President Donald Trump to show in the wake of last month’s riot on Capitol Hill and subsequent impeachment trial.
Nevertheless, when he was asked during a recent interview about the prospect of Trump becoming the Republican presidential nominee again in 2024, McConnell said that he would “absolutely” support him, Breitbart reported.
“There is no incumbent”
The shift comes mere weeks after McConnell accused Trump of bearing responsibility for inciting the civil unrest at the Capitol building, despite voting to acquit the ex-president at the conclusion of a Senate impeachment trial.
Trump responded to the top Senate Republican’s comments with a scathing statement of his own in which he ripped McConnell as an establishment “hack” who does not deserve to be a party leader. During an on-air appearance with Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier on Thursday, McConnell offered his latest thoughts on the 45th president.
“Well, there is a lot to happen between now and ’24,” the senator said of the next presidential race. “I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus some governors and others. There is no incumbent. Should be a wide-open race and fun for you all to cover.”
Baier pressed him directly on the possibility of a second Trump term, asking if he would support the former president if he achieved another nomination.
“Uh, the nominee of the party? Absolutely,” McConnell reportedly replied.
“The best chance to be victorious”
McConnell went on to downplay the suggestion that intraparty fighting had weakened the GOP, declaring that “the Republican Party is actually in very good shape.”
Backing up his assertion with evidence from November’s election, he said: “We gained seats in the House. We elected 50 Republican senators when everybody was predicting we were going to lose the Senate. The Democrats didn’t flip a single state legislature. We flipped two, picked up a governor.”
McConnell says he would support Trump if he was the Republican nominee pic.twitter.com/l0hRgpcmM8
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 25, 2021
McConnell argued that the GOP would be better off focusing on next year’s midterm races now instead of projecting nearly four years into the future.
“That will set up the next nominee for president, whoever that may be, [with] the best chance to be victorious,” he declared.