Mitch McConnell and former President Trump are not exactly BFFs, but the Senate minority leader told Fox News on Thursday he'd "absolutely" support the former POTUS were he to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. But, he added, "there's a lot to happen between now and '24. I've got at least four members, I think, that are planning on running for president, plus governors and others. There is no incumbent, [so it] should be a wide-open race and fun for you all to cover." Axios' Mike Allen has reported that when Trump speaks at CPAC on Sunday, he "plans to send the message that he is the Republicans' 'presumptive 2024 nominee' with a vise grip on the party's base," though he has not formally declared he will run.
McConnell, of course, voted to acquit Trump at his latest impeachment trial but then accused the former president of being "practically and morally responsible for provoking the events" of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot; this is his first time speaking publicly about the former president since then. CNN calls his comments to Fox News "a notable commitment following his recent blistering critiques," and the Hill goes with "a remarkable about-face." But, the network notes, they also show how reluctant the GOP is to move on from Trump, given his continued popularity with a large portion of Republicans. "I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination" if he runs in 2024, Mitt Romney told the New York Times this week. (Read more Mitch McConnell stories.)