On the heels of former President Trump declaring his loyalty to the GOP and spreading more bogus election fraud claims at CPAC, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) joined a handful of Republicans who faced attacks by Trump in offering unequivocal support of the former president if he secures the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
Appearing on Fox News on Wednesday afternoon, Kemp seemed to want to move on from the long series of swipes that Trump issued against the Georgia governor, who refused to do the then-President’s bidding of overturning the Joe Biden’s legitimate victory in the battleground state.
“Absolutely, I’m going to support the nominee,” Kemp said, when asked whether he’d back a Trump 2024 presidential run. “As I said, again, I worked very hard for the president. I think his ideas will be part of our party for a long time in the future.”
It’s a sign that the party remains beholden to Trump, and terrified of the political consequences if they cross him. During his CPAC speech, Trump ticked off the Republican lawmakers who supported his second impeachment. In a comment that could be seen as inciting more violence, Trump urged his supporters to “get rid of them all.”
Kemp added the GOP’s needs to have “a big tent,” and despite his history of disagreements with Trump, he acknowledges that the former president’s influence on the Republican Party won’t go away.
Trump repeatedly attacked Brian Kemp for not working to overturn the election results for him, called for his resignation and even gave a speech in Georgia saying he'd campaign against him, but here's Kemp just now on Fox News saying he'd support Trump in 2024 anyway pic.twitter.com/NN5z9aYalr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 3, 2021
Kemp’s public support for a potential Trump 2024 presidential bid came just days after the former president expressed regret over his 2018 endorsement of the Georgia governor, saying that it ultimately “hurt” Republicans.
“In the case of Gov. Kemp, he was in last place or just about in last place. I endorsed him, he ended up winning the election and he certainly was not very effective for the Republican Party, to put it nicely,” Trump told Newsmax on Sunday following his remarks at CPAC. “So I think that was an endorsement that hurt us, but sometimes that will happen.”
Days before Kemp expressed his undying devotion to Trump at all costs, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put aside his past scolding of Trump’s incitement of the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection earlier this year by telling Fox News that he would “absolutely” support Trump if the former president were to run for office again in 2024.
“We’ve got a new administration. It’s a very left-wing administration and we need to make sure the American people understand that this is not what Republicans stand for,” McConnell told Fox News last week.
McConnell’s renewed support of Trump’s return to the White House came a week after the former president attacked the Senate minority leader as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” for criticizing him in light of the Capitol attack in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Trump also threatened to ensure McConnell’s allies face primary challenges.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) similarly attempted to get back into Trump’s good graces in the aftermath of initially condemning the former president for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.
McCarthy has since walked back his condemnation of Trump, flew down to Mar-a-Lago to make amends with the former president and clashed with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) after the third-ranking Republican voted to impeach Trump in January. McCarthy accused Cheney of supporting “cancel culture” during an interview on Fox News last month.
McCarthy further zeroed into his everlasting loyalty to Trump by showering praise on Trump during a panel at the Conservative Action Political Conference last weekend by crediting the former president for Republican House wins and GOP incumbents who held onto their seats in the November election.
“President Trump worked on all these races,” McCarthy told CPAC, adding that Trump held “rallies over the phone” for candidates from his hospital bed when he was sick with COVID-19 in October.