Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are not friends. They have not spoken since December 2020, when the powerful lawmaker recognized that Joe Biden had won the presidency, undermining Trump’s election interference campaign.
And yet there is a coordinated effort by key advisers behind both politicians to reconcile the rift, according to unidentified members of both camps that spoke with The New York Times.
Should he get it, McConnell’s endorsement of Trump would prove an incredible vote of confidence amid unparalleled legal troubles for a presidential candidate, suggesting to Republican voters and (more importantly) donors that the frontrunner could still have a shot at retaking the White House. That could translate to a much-needed spending boost for Trump, who is so far on the hook for $354 million for committing real estate-related bank fraud in New York state; $88.3 million to E. Jean Carroll after he sexually assaulted her, lied about it, and defamed her twice; $50 million in legal fees, and $400,000 he owes The New York Times.
Trump and McConnell have both been aware of the back-channel communications since at least January, when Trump acknowledged to members of his team that he would be expecting McConnell’s endorsement.
Even without the added communications, that would make sense. McConnell has pledged to endorse the GOP nominee, even if that nominee turns out to be Trump. It is still unclear, however, if the GOP intends to nominate its frontrunner amid a flurry of ongoing criminal trials, the first of which is set to begin in late March.
“President Trump is the presumptive nominee and it is time for the entire party to coalesce behind him to defeat Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump’s communications director, Steven Cheung, told the Times.
“Senior members of the campaign have had many conversations,” he continued, “but only engage with those who are actually willing to fight for America First principles and to take back the White House.”