Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said on Sunday that he thinks former President Donald Trump should drop out of the 2024 GOP presidential race.
“I think so,” Cassidy told CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked whether he thinks Trump should withdraw. “But obviously, that’s up to him. I mean, you’re just asking my opinion, but he will lose to Joe Biden if you look at the current polls.”
Cassidy said the priority for the Republican Party should be defeating President Joe Biden in 2024. He added that he believed any of the GOP candidates that are expected to participate in the first debate, scheduled for Wednesday, would be better equipped to do that than the former president — especially because of Trump’s legal troubles. “There’s 91 charges, I think,” he said accurately, including what he described as “almost a slam dunk” charges that Trump is facing in Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
“I think Joe Biden needs to be replaced, but I don’t think Americans would vote for someone who’s been convicted, so I’m just very sorry about how all of this is playing out,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy has at times bucked Trump’s control of his party. He surprised some by being one of seven Republicans to vote “guilty” in Trump’s second impeachment, which was over the former president’s role in Jan. 6. (Though all Democrats voted to convict, an insufficient number of Republicans voted to join them to reach the needed two-thirds majority.)
The senator from Louisiana is not the first Republican senator to oppose a Trump candidacy in 2024, though his call for the former president to drop out of the race makes him among the most explicit. In July, for instance, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) in a Wall Street Journal op-ed called on donors not to fund Trump.
“If it’s a match-up between Biden and Trump, I know exactly where I’d go. I would go with Joe Manchin,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a July PBS interview.
Despite his statement that Trump should drop out, Cassidy indicated he would “vote Republican” for president in 2024. At the moment, polling suggests Trump is all but certain to be the nominee.
In explaining his opposition to Trump, the senator also touted his conservative bona fides, including warnings about Social Security insolvency — an issue on which he said he disagreed with both Trump and Biden, but did agree with many GOP primary contenders.
“My threshold issue for any person who wants to be the leader of our country is ‘Will you take care of the issue before us?’” Cassidy said. “Both Biden and Trump have the same policy on social security, which is to do nothing.”
When asked which of the Republican candidates could be a leader on this issue, Cassidy could not give a specific name but said “at least some of them are talking about it.”