Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Washington [US], February 26 (ANI): US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just weeks ago blamed Donald Trump for the Capitol riots, on Thursday said he would back the former President if he wins the Republican party's 2024 presidential nomination.

"There's a lot to happen between now and '24. I've got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president. ... Should be a wide open race," McConnell said during an interview with Fox News's Bret Baier, as reported by The Hill.

When asked if he would support the former President if he clinches the party nomination, the senator added: "The nominee of the party? Absolutely."The remarks on Fox News are McConnell's first to directly address Trump since the former President lashed out in a blistering statement after the GOP (another name for the Republican Party) leader blamed him for inciting the riots at the Capitol.

The senator declined to say if he blamed Trump for the party's loss of two Senate seats in Georgia earlier in January or if he thought the former president should speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Trump is scheduled to speak there Sunday (local time).

"I don't have any advice to give the former president about where he should speak or what we should say," McConnell said.

McConnell emphasised trying to unite the party heading into the midterm elections in 2022. The GOP holds 50 seats, putting them on the cusp of the majority, but they are also playing defense in 20 states in 2022.

"Let's focus on winning the House and the Senate in '22," McConnell said, adding that it would give the party's next presidential nominee "whoever that may be, the best chance to be victorious."After being acquitted in the second impeachment trial, the former President called his former ally McConnell "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack".

Trump's response comes days after McConnell had voted to acquit Trump during the latter's impeachment trial. "Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," he said.

On January 6, a group of Trump's loyalists stormed the US Capitol building, clashing with the police, damaging property, seizing the inauguration stage and occupying the rotunda.

The unrest took place after Trump urged his supporters to protest what he claims is a stolen presidential election. The outgoing President has since been blocked on all major social networks at least until after he is out of office.

Five people -- four protesters and a police officer -- were killed in the riots. The last time the Capitol was stormed was when British troops marched into Washington and set fire to the building in 1814.

The deadly attack prompted the House Democrats to move to impeach Trump. The Senate trial acquitted Trump. (ANI)

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