Will Mitch McConnell support Trump's possible candidacy in 2024?
Donald Trump will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, where he could announce his intention to run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Just two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Donald Trump on the floor of the upper House, naming the former president as “morally responsible” for the riots instigated by a mob of his supporters on the Capitol on 6 January.
McConnell went on to call Trump’s actions in the wake of the riots "a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty”, suggesting that the former president could be subject to criminal prosecution over his part in the violent insurrection at Capitol Hill.
But despite McConnell having no doubt about Trump's role in the Capitol attack, the Kentucky lawmaker joined the rest of his Republican senate colleagues by voting to acquit the former president following his second impeachment trial in mid-February.
Democrats' hopes of securing an impeachment charge that would have banned Trump from ever serving in public office again were always a long shot when even leading Republicans like McConnell that were staunchly critical of the former president showed no willingness to vote against him.
His acquittal now leaves Trump, who recently called McConnell "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack”, free to run as a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential ticket. And all indications are that he will do so.
Will McConnell support Trump’s presidential bid in 2024?
And it seems not even Trump’s scathing personal attack on McConnell will be enough to stop the Kentucky senator supporting the former president if wins the Republication nomination to run again in 2024.
Asked by Fox News if he would support Trump if he won the Republican ticket to take on Joe Biden in 2024, McConnell responded: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”
“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, plus some governors or others,” McConnell added. “Should be a wide-open race.”
Although considering Trump’s heavy support among the Republican voter base, it will be far from a wide-open, and more like a one-horse race, if he decides to run for the Republican candidacy in 2024.
"I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination," Republican senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney told The New York Times on Tuesday. "I look at the polls and the polls show that, among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide."
Will Trump run in 2024?
Talk of the prospects of Trump running again in 2024 had begun even before he had lost November’s election to Joe Biden. But Trump himself has yet to confirm if he will put himself forward or not.
Although a clearer picture of his intentions could emerge when he speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, where he plans to address "the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement”, according to a CNN source.
As reported by Reuters, Trump’s appearance at CPAC has caused some in-house tension among Republicans after House of Representatives Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said she believed he should not have a role in the future of the party or the United States.
Quizzed on his opinion about Trump’s upcoming CPAC appearance, McConnell told FOX News: “I don’t have any advice to give the former president about where he should speak or what he should say.”
And regarding the pair’s own recent critical exchange of words, the 36-year Senate veteran said he was willing to put it in the past. “What happened in the past is not something relevant now. We’re moving forward,” he said.
The question is whether Trump, who is well known for his vengeful streak, will be as willing to let bygones be bygones with McConnell following the Kentucky senator’s harsh rebuke of the former president two weeks ago.