Advertisement
Share

Mitch McConnell says he would support Trump if he won 2024 nomination

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday.
(Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Less than a month after excoriating President Trump in a blistering floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he would “absolutely” support Trump again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024.

The Kentucky Republican told Fox News that there’s still “a lot to happen between now” and the next presidential election.

“I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” McConnell said. “There’s no incumbent. Should be a wide-open race.”

When directly asked if he would support Trump again were he to win the nomination, McConnell responded: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”

Advertisement

McConnell’s remarks underscore the awkward balancing act he has sought to maintain since Trump lost the election, reflecting the reality that McConnell’s own path back to power in the Senate hinges on enthusiasm from a party base that still ardently supports Trump.

McConnell’s comments preceded an annual gathering of conservative activists that this year is expected to showcase Trump’s vise-like grip on the GOP base.

House Minority Leader McCarthy sees a chance to ride his warm relationship with Trump into the House majority and a job he’s wanted for years — speaker.

Trump, along with most other leading 2024 presidential prospects, is set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is underway in Orlando, Fla., instead of Washington this year because of coronavirus restrictions. McConnell, a regular at the annual conference, will not be on the program following his condemnation of Trump.

Advertisement

Shortly after voting to acquit Trump at his second impeachment trial, McConnell delivered a scalding denunciation of the former president from the Senate floor, calling him “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In turn, an angry Trump blasted McConnell as a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.”

The 36-year Senate veteran had an expedient relationship with Trump while he was in office. He made a habit of saying little about many of Trump’s outrageous comments.

But together they secured key Senate victories, such as the 2017 tax cuts and the confirmations of three Supreme Court justices and more than 200 other federal judges.

Advertisement

Their relationship soured after Trump’s denial of his Nov. 3 defeat and relentless efforts to reverse the voters’ verdict with his baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the election.

It deteriorated further last month after Republicans lost Senate control with two Georgia runoff defeats they blamed on Trump, followed by the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. The day of the riot, McConnell railed against “thugs, mobs or threats” and described the attack as “this failed insurrection.”


Advertisement