Just when you thought that Mitch McConnell could not sink any lower in political grubbing, he does. After the attack on on the US Capitol building on January 6th, McConnell made a speech on the floor of the senate and wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal unequivocally placing the blame on Trump. But when asked if he would support Trump if he became the party’s nominee in 2024, he gave a resoundingly affirmative answer.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday he would support Donald Trump in 2024 if he became the Republican presidential nominee, less than two weeks after condemning the former president for the Capitol insurrection.
“The nominee of the party? Absolutely,” McConnell told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Thursday when asked whether he would back Trump if he got the nomination.
Trump had blasted McConnell for his earlier comments and it seems that McConnell is now trying to rebuild his relationship with Trump. It shows just how much influence Trump retains with the GOP. Trump’s speech this coming Sunday to the annual right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida will be an opportunity for him to get the adoring audience he craves and that he must have been sorely missing.
The conference is run by a Trump loyalist lobbyist, Matt Schlapp, whose wife, Mercedes, was a senior official in the Trump White House. And the speakers list is a who’s who of allies, including Trump administration alumni, his son Donald Trump Jr., Dr. Ronny Jackson (Trump’s presidential physician-turned congressman from Texas), pro-Trump members of Congress and media personalities, and potential presidential hopefuls who are looking to capture his loyal base of voters if he doesn’t run.
Panel discussions about antifa, election fraud, alleged censorship by the media and Big Tech, socialism, immigration and “The Awokening of Corporate America” will give attendees of the three-day gathering plenty of Trumpy red meat, a shift from the days when the conference had a strong libertarian streak and was more interested in tax policy and budget deficits.
Trump has been preoccupied with payback, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking, and he is looking to set up an endorsement process for Republicans candidates to earn what a person familiar with the discussions described, with a whiff of sarcasm, as a kind of “papal blessing.”
Of course, the attendees are also anti-maskers, now a sign of right-wing ideological purity.
CPAC’s summit last year had one of the first high-profile outbreaks of what was then a novel coronavirus. This year, organizers decided to press ahead with an in-person gathering even as case numbers spiked over the winter. The conference’s website notes that the hotel hosting the event requires masks in public areas, but many doubt that those guidelines will be followed closely.
On the opening day of the conference yesterday, the organizers were greeted with boos when they made a likely pro forma request to attendees to wear masks to conform to the hotel’s policies.
Be prepared for a classic Trump rambling and incoherent whine fest, saying once again that the election was stolen from him and attacking all those who thinks were responsible for it and those who are disloyal. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, he says about McConnell in the light of the latter’s olive branch.
McConnell reminds me of brave Sir Robin.