by Matt Kauffman ‘23
Since his loss of the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump has done anything but recede quietly from the White House. Investigations about the January 6 riots and Trump’s attempt to overturn the outcome of the election, he has been amassing funds and hinting at a 2024 run for office.
Many members of the Republican party must now face the question of whether or not they will endorse Trump’s possible presidential campaign. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called Trump “morally responsible” for the January 6 riot in the days after it, said that he would “absolutely” endorse Trump if he were to win the party’s nomination.
“I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” explained McConnell.
Many possible 2024 candidates that endorsed Trump in 2020 and have been hesitant to voice their support for him this time around. The January 6 riot and ensuing investigation have tainted Trump’s standing image for several Republicans in Congress. January 6 Committee member Liz Cheney (R-WY) went so far as to state that Trump is unfit for future office after the January 6 riots.
“He crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before,” Cheney said. “When a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted.”
Still, Trump remains the most influential figure within the party and continues to command support from much of his base. He also has amassed enormous funding for his “Save America” political fund. In March, Trump reported $122 million in his political war chest, but without any declared candidacy, the purpose of these funds remains vague.
Trump has placed the GOP at a crossroads. Many members of the party continue to embrace his platform but may seek another candidate, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who was named the most preferred candidate other than Trump among Republican voters in a CNN poll. For 2024, the GOP may look for a continuation of Trumpism without Trump.
Whether or not Trump attempts to get back into office in 2024, he has forever altered the internal landscape of the Republican Party. Many questions about the party’s future may be answered before or during the 2024 presidential election campaigns.