GOP won’t get in the way of Trump in 2024
Republican leaders in Congress don’t appear to have any preparations to prevent Trump from running for president for the third time. Some people are even advocating for it! Rep. Elise Stefanik, the number three Republican in the House, has declared that she would back a presidential candidacy by President Trump in 2024.
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Stefanik went further in her support for Trump than any of the other more than 12 Republican leaders in both chambers interviewed by Politico for this story. But while Republicans aren’t coming out in support of him just yet, they also aren’t standing in his way. Others are ready to follow the 2016 playbook and do as little as possible to influence the outcome of the presidential primary.
The catch is that under these identical circumstances, Trump was able to emerge victorious from a crowded primary with more than a dozen other candidates. Furthermore, Trump is no longer the unknown figure he was in 2015; he has an official presidency record, has been impeached twice, and continues to face legal threats and a congressional probe.
When we first met him, he was a bit of a blank slate. It’s true that, like any other candidate, you acquire both good and bad traits over your time in office. “He’s going to have that dimension that he didn’t have before,” said a senator vying for leadership next year, Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. There will be fierce competition for the presidency in 2024 because it is a rare opportunity for a different party to win.
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Republicans are in jeopardy as the select committee’s report from January 6 reveals new facts regarding Trump’s behavior during the attack on the Capitol, including his decision to hold his tongue for a number of hours when he, his president, and senators from the Republican Party were there in the building and saw the bloodshed unfold. They fear that if Trump makes his candidacy for the president public before the November election, it will hurt their party’s chances of winning back the House and, possibly, the Senate.
According to two House Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal dynamics, Trump’s supporters have urged him not to make the announcement before the midterms out of concern that he will divert and discourage voters by making the race about himself rather than a referendum on the Biden administration. Republican leaders have made it clear that they do not approve of Trump’s plan to divert attention to himself for the next three months.
Senator John Cornyn stated that he is not going to worry about what might happen, a member of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership team and a possible successor to McConnell as the GOP leader. I’m crossing my fingers that he puts off making a call until after the midterms. A representative for Trump declined to respond. Only three of the ten senior Republicans in the House who were questioned for this story said they would definitely support Trump in a presidential primary. This includes nine members currently in leadership positions or aspiring to such positions. This feeling is shared by many in the Capitol; none of the top five predicted Republican leaders in the Senate have expressed any urgency in soon endorsing Trump.
But none of those leaders have come out publicly against Trump or in support of any other candidate. The Republican Study Committee’s head, Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, and the conference secretary, Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina, have both declared they will support Trump once he takes office. According to Banks, if Trump makes a statement early, it could encourage his fans to vote in the upcoming election.
President Trump would have Banks’ support if he runs, she stated. Banks was appointed to her position by the Republican Study Committee rather than the full conference. And he brings out Trump voters, which is crucial to our victory in November’s midterm elections… He’s never been more well-liked than right now. After the election, not all Republicans share Cornyn’s view that backing Trump is the best option. Under the condition of anonymity, other prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill have described how some of Trump’s allies and advisers have approached the former president, saying they want to convince him to launch his campaign before the midterms so that he can beat out potential 2024 competitors like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Still, some Republicans think behind closed doors that only Trump has enough baggage to possibly lose against President Joe Biden, whose favor poll numbers are hanging in the mid to upper 30s despite a formidable field of projected GOP candidates. In addition, this finding is causing some concern among the regular troops. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who has said he won’t back Trump if he runs again, met with the Republican Study Committee this week and subsequently told reporters that he hopes former VP Mike Pence runs for president.
Up in the Republican leadership of the House, where Stefanik does not sit, the upcoming elections are the primary focus. Leader of the House Minority Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.), who has had his own run-ins with Trump, and Whip of the House Republicans, Steve Scalise (R-La.), both said that they are looking ahead to the November election. When McCarthy was asked if he would endorse Trump above all others, he laughed and stated, “I’m concentrating on this election.”