In a breathtaking turnabout, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday on Fox News that he would “absolutely” back Donald Trump for president in 2024 if he becomes the Republican Party’s nominee.
The startling support came less than two weeks after McConnell’s angry slam of the former president as “practically and morally responsible” for inciting last month’s deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol. “There’s no question,” McConnell said. “The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.” He called Trump’s actions “a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
But asked by Fox News host Bret Baier if he would support Trump if he wins the party’s nomination for president in 2024, McConnell said enthusiastically: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”
McConnell also noted, however: “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 …. Should be a wide-open race.”
Despite his stance on Trump’s responsibility for the Capitol attack, McConnell nevertheless refused to convict him for “incitement of insurrection” at his impeachment trial. After his criticism of Trump, the former president called him a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.” He added in a statement that McConnell is “destroying the Republican side of the Senate” and that the senator was “one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States.”
When pressed by Baier on his stern criticism of Trump for inciting the Capitol riot, McConnell responded: “What happened in the past is not something relevant now. We’re moving forward. We’ve got a new administration. It’s a very left-wing administration.”
“I don’t have any advice to give the former president about where he should speak or what he should say,” McConnell said.
Check out the video up top. Baier begins to question McConnell on his position on Trump at 6:08.