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Senate Minority Whip John Thune said this week that Republicans “welcome” former President Donald Trump’s help to regain the majority in the Senate, but repeat his false claims that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen “takes our eyes off the ultimate prize”.
“President Trump still has a huge following among our supporters across the country and, you know, wields that influence, or at least tries to, on a daily basis,” Thune, RS.D., told Fox News. “But I think ultimately for us, as Republican senators, our job right now is to try to win back the majority in 2022 and provide that check and balance against this crazy agenda of the Biden administration.”
Thune, who Trump called last year to be a primary, announced this week that he would run for re-election after months of speculation. Thune said family factors were pushing him to retire, but the goals of blocking President Biden’s agenda, implementing GOP policies and potentially succeeding Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., as the top Republican in the Senate, all factored into his decision to run. another six-year term.
THUNE SAYS REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP OBSTRIGENCE IF THEY TAKE BACK MAJORITY IN SENATE MIDTERM
The minority whip said winning the Senate would be the best marker of a successful 2022 for Republicans. But he said continued wrangling over the presidential election is counterproductive to that goal.
“To the extent that President Trump can be helpful, can contribute,” Thune said, “we welcome that.”
“But I think every time we talk about the 2020 election and rehash that, it takes our eyes off the ultimate prize. And so I think most Republican senators understand that for us to be successful as a country, we need to reclaim the majority in the Senate and that means focusing on the future not the past,” he said. “We welcome the former president’s support for this, but hope he plays a constructive role and will help us win a majority in 2022.”
THUNE SAYS TOP GOP PRIORITY MUST TAKE BACK SENATE, BLOCKING DEMS’ ‘Crazy Radical Agenda’
Republicans face a tougher path to winning a majority in the Senate this year than they do in the House. Indeed, all members of the House are eligible for re-election in 2022, while Republicans defend their victories in the Senate in 2016.
With President Biden’s approval rating declining, the economy faltering, and after strong performances in states like Virginia and New Jersey in 2021, Republicans are clearly gaining political momentum.
But McConnell warned last month of the possibility that a bad candidate winning a 2022 primary could handicap Republicans in key Senate races. He also alluded to the two Republican Senate losses in Georgia’s runoff, which many blamed on Trump’s campaign claims.
“I’m going to name four names and ask you a question. Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock,” McConnell said, referring to the 2012 GOP Senate candidates backed by the Tea Party movement. “What do they all have in common? They’re not senators.”
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McConnell added, “I don’t care how you describe yourself, whether you consider yourself a Trump candidate or such a candidate or such a candidate, there are ways to assess eligibility…Primary season is in the spring. But, you know, it makes a difference who wins. And from our point of view, if we had won a seat in Georgia, we wouldn’t have made the [American Rescue Plan]. We wouldn’t talk about reckless taxes and spending.”
And for Thune, a GOP majority in the Senate is key to ensuring those Democratic policies aren’t on the cards for the final two years of Biden’s term.
“We think it’s critical for the country that there is a check and balance to this crazy radical agenda that the Biden White House and Democrats in Congress are trying to push forward,” Thune told Fox News.
Despite Coin’s wishes, it doesn’t appear that Trump plans to drop his misrepresentations regarding the 2020 election. He said Friday he would address it at his Saturday rally in Arizona.
“Looking forward to seeing everyone in Arizona tomorrow! Many topics will be covered including the rigged 2020 presidential election, the fake big lie, the corrupt LameStream media, the disaster in Afghanistan, inflation, the sudden lack of respect for our nation and its leaders, and so much more,” Trump said.