Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is “moving forward,” having little interest in discussing events from the past, as he focuses on winning back the Senate in 2022, and it was on that note that the Kentucky Republican raised a lot of eyebrows Thursday.
In an appearance on Fox News, McConnell was asked if he believed former President Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2024, after host Brett Baier ran a clip of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, begrudgingly admitting that if Trump ran, he would “win in a landslide.”
In responding to the query, the GOP leader acknowledged that he would support the former president if that proved to be the case.
“Well, 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 — should be a wide open race and fun for you all to cover,” he continued.
Baier followed up by asking, “If [Trump] was the party’s nominee, would you support him?”
“The nominee of the party? Absolutely,” McConnell replied.
It’s difficult to guess at the political machinations going on inside McConnell’s head. Is he simply looking to avoid a public spat with the former president, particularly so with Trump set to keynote the annual CPAC gathering over the weekend?
Or is McConnell confident that Trump would not prevail in the GOP primary, given that he mentioned that there were “at least four members” of his caucus planning on running, as well as others?
After Trump’s impeachment acquittal in the Senate, which McConnell supported, the Republican senator ripped Trump in a floor speech, calling his behavior ahead of the Capitol riot “unconscionable.”
“There’s no question… that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he said at the time.
Trump responded with a scathing statement letting it be known that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the Republican Party.
“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” he said. “He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”
Baier asked McConnell if his party was in the midst of a civil war.
“I think if you’re looking for a real civil war, look at the Democrats in the House,” he answered. “The progressives make it extremely difficult for Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi to operate given the narrow margin she has overall in the House.”
In fact, McConnell said, the Republican Party “is actually in very good shape.”
“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 [and] picked up a governor,” he said.
“The Republican Party had a very good day on November 3,” he added. “We’re sorry we lost the White House, but the Republican Party demonstrated once again this is a 50/50 nation, we are very competitive and will be competitive again in ’22.”
CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins claimed in a report that Trump and McConnell have not spoken “in several months.”
“That is a pretty interesting development there, given just how severe his relationship with President Trump has been since, of course, the November election,” Collins noted. “We know they have not actually spoken in several months now and we don’t expect that to change. Former President Trump has been trashing Mitch McConnell from his club down at Mar-a-Lago. It is striking to hear McConnell say, yes if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024 he’ll support him.”
The left lost its collective mind over McConnell suggesting that he would back Trump as the potential 2024 party nominee.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter. *Caution: Strong Language: