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Mitch McConnell endorses former President Trump as GOP presidential nominee

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks during a press availability on Capitol Hill, Feb. 27, 2024, in Washington.
Mark Schiefelbein
/
AP
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks during a press availability on Capitol Hill, Feb. 27, 2024, in Washington.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has endorsed former President Donald Trump's campaign for a second term, despite consistently clashing with Trump for years.

"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," McConnell said in a statement. "It should come as no surprise that as nominee, he will have my support."

McConnell noted that during Trump's presidency, the two men worked together to pass tax reform and reshape the federal judiciary for a generation. He said he looks forward "to the opportunity of switching from playing defense against the terrible policies the Biden administration."

The Senate leader has consistentlyclashedwith Trump, most forcefully after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. While McConnell did not vote to convict Trump during his impeachment trial after the insurrection, he said on the floor that "there's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day." Trump has in turn bashed McConnell as the "establishment," and repeatedly made racist remarks about McConnell's wife, former Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao.

The endorsement comes a week after McConnell announced he will be stepping down as Republican Senate leader in November.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lexie Schapitl is a production assistant with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces and digital content. She also reports from the field and assists with production of the NPR Politics Podcast.
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.