Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday he would support Donald Trump in 2024 if he became the Republican presidential nominee, less than two weeks after condemning the former president for the Capitol insurrection.
“The nominee of the party? Absolutely,” McConnell told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Thursday when asked whether he would back Trump if he got the nomination.
The remark comes amid a dramatic, public row between the former president and McConnell in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — an event for which McConnell blamed Trump in scathing statements on the Senate floor. Trump in turn blasted McConnell last week as an “unsmiling political hack” who is weakening the Republican Party.
During his interview with Baier, McConnell stopped short of offering his immediate support for Trump in what is likely to be a crowded Republican 2024 field. McConnell stressed that numerous other Republicans had also hinted their intentions of a 2024 presidential run.
“There’s a lot to happen between now and ’24,” McConnell said. “I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus some governors and others. There’s no incumbent. It should be a wide-open race and fun for you all to cover.”
McConnell signaled his desire to move on from the 2020 elections and focus instead on retaking the House and Senate in 2022. When asked about Trump’s role in the Republican losses in the special elections for Georgia’s Senate seats, McConnell flatly said: “I don’t have any further observations to make about that. We’re looking forward.”
McConnell also rebuffed Trump’s attack against him that he was injuring the party’s prospects. McConnell maintained that there was no “civil war” within the party and that it remained competitive with Democrats in razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate.
The specter of a Trump run in 2024 continues to hover over the party, with the former president remaining popular among Republican voters. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) predicted on Tuesday that Trump would win the nomination in 2024 should he make another go at the White House.
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