Shocking reversal: McConnell says he’d back Trump for president in 2024
After saying Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell now says he would back Trump for president if he was the 2024 Republican nominee. | Susan Walsh / AP

In a shocking reversal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he would “absolutely” back Donald Trump for president in 2024 if he is the Republican nominee.

He made those remarks on the same day that he joined other Republicans in Washington and around the country in minimizing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol during which the world witnessed Trump supporters storming the building and trying to search out and kill both the Speaker of the House and the Vice President.

Speaking about the investigations of the attack, McConnell said it was “equally important to investigate left-wing violence” as he continued the GOP attempt to equate the right-wing insurrection with peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer.

Denial of the reality of the white supremacist Trumpite insurrection is surfacing in Republican circles all over the country. Mike Shirkey, the GOP majority leader of the Michigan State Senate, is arguing, for example, that the entire Jan.6 insurrection was a “hoax” designed by forces that wanted to take down Trump.

McConnell’s remarks were made shortly after it became clear that new white supremacist terror is in the making.

The acting U.S. Capitol Police chief told lawmakers Thursday that right-wing extremists “want to blow up the Capitol” when President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress in March.

“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible, with a direct nexus to the State of the Union,” Yogananda Pittman said during the hearing on security failures leading up to the insurrection.

The date of the State of the Union, Biden’s first joint address to Congress, has not yet been announced.

“Based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward,” she said.

In response to lawmakers’ questions about when the security walls and fences and the National Guard would be removed from the Capitol, Pittman cited the threats from white supremacists as the reason they have remained.

She also said intelligence reports have shown that the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol “weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers” but “wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as to who was in charge of that legislative process.”

The stunning McConnell about-face on support for Trump came less than two weeks after McConnell accused Trump of being “practically and morally responsible” for the deadly insurrection. “There’s no question,” McConnell had said, “the people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.” He described Trump as being guilty of “a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”

Asked on Fox News yesterday 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.”

The first sign that McConnell’s indictment of Trump would not last long actually came at the end of the former president’s second impeachment trial when the GOP Senate leader would not vote for conviction on the charge of incitement of insurrection.

Trump immediately attacked McConnell that day, calling him a “dour, sullen unsmiling political hack.”

Even a clock as broken as Trump calls it correctly every so often. The criticism worked and McConnell is now in full reversal.

The Fox interviewer, Brett Baier, pressed McConnell on the reasons for his reversal. McConnell’s response: “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.”

McConnell’s reversal and the consolidation of GOP support for Trump being evidenced at the right-wing CPAC convention this weekend surprised some of the most seasoned political observers, considering how Trump managed to preside over the loss of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate for the Republican Party.

It is almost universally accepted that Trump was a key factor in losing the Georgia Senate races, giving the Democrats control of that body.

Trump is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the CPAC conference this weekend, which will look quite different from some of the prior gatherings of the group.

It is expected to be less a collection of workshops on right-wing schemes than a forum for the airing of grievances by Trumpites holding onto the idea that he is still the legitimate president, with the election having been allegedly stolen from him.

There will be at least seven panels on “election protection,” backing the wide variety of vote suppression measures introduced in state legislatures across the country by Trump-supporting Republican lawmakers.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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