WASHINGTON – Donald Trump wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he will run for president again in 2024, but did tout his lingering support among Republicans in the wake of last week’s Senate impeachment trial.
“Too early to say – but I see a lot of great polls out there,” Trump said during a phone interview with Newsmax TV devoted to eulogizing the late radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday.
Trump also spoke with Fox News and the One American News (OAN) network in phone interviews to talk about Limbaugh.
The ex-president answered questions on other issues during the largely friendly interviews. He did not speak in detail about the Jan. 6 insurrection by his supporters, the subsequent impeachment by the House, or the recent Senate trial that ended with his acquittal.
The interviews came a day after Trump issued a scathing statement against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, widening the rift within the GOP over the ex-president’s role in the party moving forward.
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Trump is polling well among Republicans. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Tuesday said, “A majority of Republican voters (54 percent) said they would support Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary election.”
In the OAN interview, Trump said his political movement “is very strong and it’s getting stronger.”
Respondents in other polls have criticized Trump’s handling of the insurrection.
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On Saturday, the Senate acquitted Trump on charges that he incited the riot at the Capitol, but only because prosecutors could not muster the two-thirds vote necessary for conviction; 57 of the 100 senators voted for conviction, including seven Republicans.
In his television interviews, Trump also echoed his false claims of his election loss to President Joe Biden and said that Limbaugh agreed with his protests. “Rush felt we won and he was quite angry about it,” Trump said during an interview on Fox News earlier in the day.
‘A true American legend’:Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, more mourn Rush Limbaugh’s death
In addition being coy about 2024 during the interviews, Trump also:
- Said he is not returning to Twitter, and is looking for alternative social media outlets.
- Criticized Biden over comments about vaccine preparation and claimed the new president is not tough enough on China.
- Again attacked McConnell, who criticized Trump for lies about the election process that inspired extremists to attack the U.S. Capitol.
“The Republicans are soft,” Trump told Newsmax. “They only hit their own – like Mitch.”
In his written statement, Trump blamed McConnell for recent Republican losses, and said, “Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.” He added that “if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
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McConnell actually voted to acquit Trump, but, he said, only because he did not think it was constitutional to conduct a trial of a president who is no longer in office. McConnell had also opposed staring the trial while Trump was still in office.
In casting his acquittal vote, the Kentucky senator did criticize Trump, saying his false claims about the election inspired the rioters.
“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”