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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell supports Trump for president

Washington, Mar 6 (Prensa Latina) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed former President Trump’s bid for the White House on Wednesday, a turnaround in the icy relationship between two of the most prominent Republicans in the country.

McConnell unveiled the endorsement only after news broke that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Trump’s final remaining primary opponent, was dropping out of the race following Trump’s big wins on Super Tuesday. “It is abundantly clear that former President Trump has earned the requisite support of Republican voters to be our nominee for President of the United States. It should come as no surprise that as nominee, he will have my support,” McConnell said.

“During his Presidency, we worked together to accomplish great things for the American people including tax reform that supercharged our economy and a generational change of our federal judiciary – most importantly, the Supreme Court. I look forward to the opportunity of switching from playing defense against the terrible policies the Biden administration has pursued to a sustained offense geared towards making a real difference in improving the lives of the American people.”

The move comes after back-channel talks in recent weeks between the top lieutenants for the two GOP behemoths — Chris LaCivita, Trump’s campaign manager; and Josh Holmes, McConnell’s longtime top political aide.

News of a possible endorsement emerged shortly before McConnell announced his decision to step down as Republican leader at the end of the term, capping an 18-year run in the position. He will depart as the longest serving party leader in Senate history.

“I still have enough gas in the tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics, and I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm which they have become accustomed,” McConnell said while announcing his decision last week.

The sudden detente marks the culmination of what has been almost a decadelong up-and-down relationship between the two GOP figures, which has been colored by bad blood in recent years.

McConnell laid the blame at Trump’s feet for what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol, angering Trump by declaring him “practically and morally responsible” for the attack. McConnell also considered voting to convict the ex-president in his second impeachment trial, but ultimately argued that the judicial system was a better arena to hold Trump responsible for his actions.

Additionally, Trump made numerous comments targeting McConnell’s wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

But Senate Republicans pointed to McConnell’s long game, which is largely colored by his push to win back the Senate majority in November. Assuming the GOP wins Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) seat, Republicans only need one more seat to win back control of the chamber if President Biden wins reelection. If Trump wins, Republicans would be set in the upper chamber.

“He’ll look past a load of shit to improve the path to the majority,” one Senate GOP member said after news of talks between Trump’s and McConnell’s teams emerged.

McConnell’s endorsement follows the vast majority of his conference. More than two-thirds of Senate Republicans have thrown their weight behind Trump’s campaign, including Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the two leading contenders to replace McConnell as GOP leader come November.

But although McConnell’s endorsement has been secured, a few Senate Republicans have shown little inclination to follow suit. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) both endorsed Haley ahead of Super Tuesday.

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), who is not up for reelection until 2028, has also made clear he has no plans to back the ex-president.