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Less than two weeks after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that there was “no question—none—that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking” the insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol—while simultaneously voting to acquit on impeachment—he told Fox News on Thursday evening that he would “absolutely” support Trump if he is the Republican nominee in 2024.
Ahead of Trump’s big speech at CPAC on Sunday, Fox anchor Bret Baier asked McConnell to weigh in on the widespread assumption that the former president will be the frontrunner should he decide to run again.
At first, McConnell hedged a bit, saying, "There's a lot to happen between now and ‘24” and adding, “I’ve got four members, I think, that are planning on running for president, plus some governors and others.” With no incumbent Republican running, McConnell said, “It should be a wide open race and fun for you all to cover.”
But when Baier then asked him directly if he would support Trump should he become the nominee, McConnell answered, “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”
Earlier in the interview—McConnell’s first since the Capitol riot—when Baier confronted his guest with the cognitive dissonance between the remarks he made on the floor of the Senate 12 days ago and his renewed embrace of Trump, McConnell told him, “My point is what happened in the past is not something relevant now, we’re moving forward. We’ve got a new administration.”
From there, the anchor read aloud from the long statement Trump released just over a week ago excoriating McConnell, calling him, among other things, a “dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack” and warning, “if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
All McConnell could say in response was, “The Republican Party is actually in very good shape,” talking up the GOP’s success everywhere but the presidential race and refusing to lay any of the blame for the Georgia runoff results at the feet of Trump.