Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that if former President Donald Trump becomes the Republican Party’s presidential nominee again in 2024, he would “absolutely” throw his support behind the former president.
But, he says, a lot could happen between now then.
What are the details?
During an interview with Fox News‘ Bret Baier, the anchor asked McConnell if he believed Trump would be the GOP nominee during the next president election as some have predicted.
“Well, there’s a lot to happen between now and ’24,” the GOP leader responded, revealing, “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,” he continued, telling Baier it “should be a wide open race and fun for you all to cover.”
Baier then asked directly, “If [Trump] was the party’s nominee, would you support him?”
“The nominee of the party? Absolutely,” McConnell replied.
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The Hill called McConnell’s declaration a “remarkable about-face” by the Kentucky Republican, who has delivered scathing public rebukes of Trump in recent weeks over the former president’s actions surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.
Although McConnell voted to acquit Trump on constitutional grounds during the Senate impeachment trial over the House’s charge that the former president incited the insurrection, the minority leader said in a subsequent speech from the Senate floor and in The Wall Street Journal that Trump was responsible for the attack.
Trump reacted with a blistering public statement of his own, calling McConnell an “unsmiling political hack,” and warned Republicans against listening to the longtime GOP leader.
When asked by Baier whether the Republican Party was currently in a civil war, McConnell argued that it was actually the Democrats who are at battle within their own ranks.
“I think if you’re looking for a real civil war, look at the Democrats in the House,” McConnell said. “The progressives make it extremely difficult for Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi (D-Calif.) to operate given the narrow margin she has overall in the House.”
The GOP leader repeatedly refused to engage on questions regarding former President Trump, at one point telling Baier, “What happened in the past is not something relevant now. We’re moving forward.”