An unsmiling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he would “absolutely” back former President Donald Trump in 2024 should he win the Republican Party nomination.
McConnell made the surprising comments in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier, who asked flat-out if he’d be willing to support Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee.
“The nominee of the party?” the Kentucky Republican replied. “Absolutely.”
McConnell and Trump have been engaged in a very open and fiery clash ever since the events of January 6th, in which a small group of protesters involved in a rally for the former President stormed the Capitol.
Following that incident, the GOP leader joined Democrats in blaming Trump for the attack, saying he was “morally responsible.”
“It was obvious that only President Trump could end this,” he said. “Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded.”
Trump ravaged McConnell, issuing a statement saying he is “a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.”
“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” he added.
Making a quasi-endorsement from McConnell seem a little odd.
After Mitch McConnell said a number of senators are likely to run in 2024, @BretBaier asked what he would do if Trump was the nominee: "If the President was the party's nominee [in 2024], would you support him?"
McConnell replied w/this: "The nominee of the party? Absolutely." pic.twitter.com/FZb9kXSiiZ
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 25, 2021
Perhaps Mitch McConnell is reading the tea leaves when it comes to Donald Trump and his role in the party as we go barreling towards the next presidential cycle in 2024.
A survey released last week indicates a majority – nearly 50 percent – of Trump voters would follow the former President to a new party and abandon the GOP if they were given a choice.
That would, hands down, be devastating to the party and a boon for the Democrats.
A poll prior to that from Axios-Ipsos shows Republican voters are taking sides in the party’s civil war – and it isn’t with the establishment.
The results show a vast majority of Republicans do not hold Trump responsible for the Capitol riots, believe he had a right to challenge the election, and a whopping 92 percent still see him as their preferred nominee in 2024.
Republicans across the U.S. are siding with President Trump over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — big time — according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll. https://t.co/jqkhRlfE6O pic.twitter.com/CgnV3xLttp
— Axios (@axios) January 14, 2021
The former President is poised to make remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida this weekend in which he will claim the mantle of power in the GOP by saying he is “still in charge.”
Trump is expected to argue that he is still the man to drain the Washington swamp as the Republican “presumptive 2024 nominee.”
🚨 🚨 Scoop: Trump to claim total control of GOP / plans years-long payback campaign...https://t.co/eh7rO1h3OF
— Jim VandeHei (@JimVandeHei) February 22, 2021
In an interview with Newsmax’s Greg Kelly, Trump remarked on a potential 2024 run saying, “Well, we have tremendous support. I won’t say yet, but we have tremendous support.”
Even Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has admitted he’s “pretty sure [Trump] would win the nomination.”
"I don't know if he'll run in 2024... but if he does, I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination.”@MittRomney's comments set the stage for Trump's first speech since leaving office.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 25, 2021
It’s far more likely that Mitch McConnell is simply playing the role of politician, opening up his arms to any potential candidate – even Trump – for 2024, in an effort to quell the intraparty fighting.
In his interview with Baier, the Republican leader said he was open to any and all candidates should they win the party nomination.
“There’s a lot to happen between now and ’24. I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president,” he said.
“There’s no incumbent,” McConnell added. “Should be a wide-open race and fun for you all to cover.”