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Trump Picks Up Major New Endorsement As Haley Fades

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump continues to gain momentum and support as he appears to be on a glide path to the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, barring him being convicted of charges filed against him by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department.

Over the weekend, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chamber’s No. 2 Republican and a top deputy to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), publicly endorsed Trump.

“The primary results in South Carolina make clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president in this year’s pivotal presidential election. The choice before the American people is crystal clear: It’s Donald Trump or Joe Biden,” Thune told Fox News Digital.

“I support former President Trump’s campaign to win the presidency, and I intend to do everything I can to see that he has a Republican majority in the Senate working with him to restore American strength at home and abroad,” he continued.

“Together we must put an end to the disastrous Biden-Schumer agenda. Our country cannot endure another four years of Bidenomics, continued lawlessness at our southern border, and American weakness on the global stage.”

Thune said he and the former president spoke on the phone Saturday night after Trump’s major South Carolina win.

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Fox News noted that before he committed to Trump, it wasn’t clear that Thune — who is seen as McConnell’s replacement atop the GOP Senate conference at some point — would endorse him or Haley after Thune initially backed Senate colleague Tim Scott (R-S.C.) before he withdrew from the race last fall.

As for McConnell, he and Trump have a rocky relationship that has remained frosty following Trump’s term in office. Earlier this month, he would not say whether that relationship would prevent him from endorsing Trump again.

“I’ve stayed essentially out of it, and when I change my mind about that, I’ll let you know,” he told reporters after being asked about it during a press conference.

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Trump lashed out at both McConnell and Thune after they criticized him following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol Building. Thune handily won reelection for a fourth term last year after Trump called for him to be primaried.

Despite the trouncing, Haley, who served as Trump’s UN ambassador, vowed Saturday evening that she would remain in the race.

“I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run… I’m a woman of my word. I’m not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” she said.

“40% is not some tiny group,” Haley continued. “There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primary [who said] they want an alternative…I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run for president. I’m a woman of my word.”

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She also addressed both Trump and President Joe Biden.

“One of them calls his fellow Americans fascists. The other calls his fellow Americans vermin,” she said. “They aren’t fighting for our country’s future. They’re demanding we fight each other.”

For his part, after his big victory, Trump said he wasn’t really focused on Haley anymore.

Trump told Fox News that he’s not sure Haley is “even really in the race” at this point, adding he is now hyper-focused on beating President Joe Biden in the fall.

“I was honored that I received the largest vote in the history of the state — I’m with Senator Lindsey Graham right now, and he just told me we received the largest vote by double — we beat the last record,” Trump told the network. “So that’s a great compliment to all of the people and to making America great again.”

Asked if he thought Haley should now drop out of the race, Trump said he’s “really not thinking about that… I’m not thinking about it.”

“I’m really thinking about we have to beat Joe Biden,” told the outlet.

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