Trump’s 2024 bid sparks harsh backlash among Hill Republicans
Many House and Senate Republicans backed down on Monday at the prospect of former President Donald Trump launching a third presidential race this week, a sign of his waning support on Capitol Hill after years of controversy and scandal and following their party’s disappointing midterm performance.
In interviews with a few dozen Republicans in both chambers, very few were eager to embrace a 2024 race – instead underscoring their hope that another candidate will emerge or that the field will be big enough for voters to choose someone. another one that might appeal to the middle. -road voters.
« I want someone who’s going to unite our party, » South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said, declining to say whether he would support Trump. “That’s how you win elections. A reasonable person who would unify the party.
Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson added of Trump, “Let’s see who’s running. Personally, I don’t think it’s good for the party. … I think his policy was good. I just don’t need all the drama with this.
That sentiment was echoed by former allies of the former president — pointing to how their party’s de facto leader has become increasingly alienated on Capitol Hill — especially after last Tuesday’s election.
« Still? » Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw said when asked about the prospect of Trump running again.
When asked if he would get involved in the primary, Crenshaw replied, « Hell no. »
« None of us are entitled to these jobs, » said Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Trump ally and Republican from North Dakota, when asked about the likely 2024 candidacy. . And I certainly won’t make any decision (to approve) so soon.
Cramer said it would be best if more candidates showed up in 2024. « I think we’re all better off if there’s more on the scene. »
Others began to nominate rival candidates. GOP Sen. Jerry Moran said he has his eyes on fellow Kansan and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott.
« I think we have a lot of Republicans who are interested in being our presidential candidate, » Moran said when asked about Trump. “And I’m interested in letting the American people make that decision. …And I’m interested in seeing these people rise to the top.
Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican from Florida, dodged whether she would support Trump and said, “Let me tell you something: I know the next Republican presidential candidate is from Florida. (The state’s newly reelected Governor Ron DeSantis is becoming a Republican favorite in Washington.)
On Monday, several Republicans blamed Trump for advancing lackluster candidates and obsessing over his 2020 election defeat as undermining the case they’ve tried to make against Democrats this year.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said it’s clear « questioning the 2020 election is not a winning strategy. »
« I think looking ahead is always a better campaign strategy, » said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. « Looking back to 2020 obviously didn’t work. »
In private, the view was harder. A moderate-leaning GOP lawmaker said of a Trump presidential bid, « It’s like we’re in season 7, 8 of ‘The Apprentice.’ Let’s find something else.
And other longtime Trump critics, like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, wanted nothing to do with a Trump 2024 candidacy.
« I think President Trump and the denial of the election was an albatross around Republicans’ necks, » Romney said. “And frankly, I think he spent too much time on the mountain. We lost three races with him. And I would like to see someone from the bench, come take their place and lead our party and help lead the country.
Others were slow to embrace the former president.
« It’s his decision, » Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul said when asked about Trump 2024. « I think every member will have to watch and see what’s happening on the ground. »
But Trump’s former vice president has at least one support on Capitol Hill — his brother.
« I’m for my brother, » Rep. Greg Pence, a Republican from Indiana, said of former Vice President Mike Pence. « Absolutely. I hope my brother runs away.