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With Haley suspending campaign, McConnell backs Trump

Biden makes appeal for Haley voters, Trump says she was ‘TROUNCED’

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who suspended her campaign Wednesday, campaigned in Washington, D.C., last week.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who suspended her campaign Wednesday, campaigned in Washington, D.C., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With former Ambassador Nikki Haley suspending her campaign and Republican presidential primary field now clear, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined in backing former President Donald Trump.

“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. It should come as no surprise that as nominee, he will have my support,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. “I look forward to the opportunity of switching from playing defense against the terrible policies the Biden administration has pursued to a sustained offense geared towards making a real difference in improving the lives of the American people.”

After the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, McConnell had condemned the soon-to-be-former president and McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, resigned from the cabinet. McConnell later voted to acquit Trump, however, after the House impeached him on charges of inciting an insurrection.

On Wednesday, McConnell focused on successes during the Trump administration, led by the effort to reshape the Supreme Court with a conservative majority. McConnell had previously announced he would not seek another term as Senate Republican leader, and his would-be successors already endorsed Trump.

Presidential primary season effectively ended Wednesday, with Haley suspending her campaign for the Republican nomination after prevailing only in the nominating contests in Vermont and Washington, D.C.

Haley’s withdrawal Wednesday comes one day ahead of President Joe Biden appearing at a joint session to deliver the State of the Union address, and allows former Trump’s operation to fully pivot its attention to the general election rematch.

While Trump nearly ran the table in Republican contests Tuesday with the exception of Vermont, the results in places like Northern Virginia could give his supporters cause for pause. While Haley won only about one-third of the votes cast across the commonwealth of Virginia, she trounced Trump in Arlington County, winning more than 73 percent just across the Potomac in the suburb of the nation’s capital.

“It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him, and I hope he does that. At its best, politics is about bringing people into your cause, not turning them away. And our conservative cause badly needs more people,” Haley in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday. “This is now his time for choosing.”

Biden and his campaign were trying to extend an olive branch to those voters Wednesday, especially those focused on foreign policy.

“Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters,” the president said in a statement. “I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign. I know there is a lot we won’t agree on. But on the fundamental issues of preserving American democracy, on standing up for the rule of law, on treating each other with decency and dignity and respect, on preserving NATO and standing up to America’s adversaries, I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

Trump also said Wednesday that he wanted Haley’s voters to come to his side, but in a posting on Truth Social before her announcement, he was not concilatory.

“Nikki Haley got TROUNCED last night, in record setting fashion, despite the fact that Democrats, for reasons unknown, are allowed to vote in Vermont, and various other Republican Primaries,” the former president said.

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