House Republican Conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York on Wednesday became the first member of congressional GOP leadership to endorse a 2024 White House run by former President Trump.
In statements to the New York Times and Breitbart News, the No. 3 House Republican said she is “proud” to endorse Trump for 2024 and that it is “very clear” he is still the leader of the Republican Party. Trump is widely expected to announce another run for president on Tuesday, Nov. 15, though some of his top advisers are cautioning him to delay a campaign launch because of the disappointing midterm election results and failure of Trump-endorsed candidates to win key races.
“Republican voters determine who is the leader of the Republican Party and it’s very clear President Trump is the leader of the Republican party. What the media fails to report is that we just won the midterms and flipped the House,” Stefanik told Breitbart News in a statement.
Republicans had hoped to win more than the House on Tuesday, believing that President Biden’s unpopularity and voter dissatisfaction with high inflation, crime rates, and Democratic governors’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic would produce a “Red Tsunami.” However, those expectations fizzled out as it became clear by Wednesday morning that several toss-up races were going the Democrats’ way, and other races that will determine control of the House and Senate were still too close to call.
Many conservative commentators blamed Trump for the mixed results, accusing him of endorsing bad candidates in Republican primaries. Trump-endorsed Republican nominees Dr. Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano lost their respective races for U.S. Senate and governor in Pennsylvania; Don Bolduc failed to unseat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire; Herschel Walker is headed to a runoff against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia; and Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Senate nominee Blake Masters are trailing their Democratic opponents as votes are still being counted.
Democrats also spent more than $40 million boosting six pro-Trump GOP candidates in key House and Senate races, all of whom went on to lose their races.
In light of these disappointing results, some Trump advisers have said the former president should delay his plans to launch a comeback bid for the White House on Tuesday. They believe he instead should wait until the Dec. 6 runoff election in Georgia is complete, by which time Republicans will know whether they have won control of the Senate.
“I’ll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff,” former Trump adviser Jason Miller told the Associated Press on Thursday. Miller was with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago residence watching the election returns on Tuesday night.
“Georgia needs to be the focus of every Republican in the country right now,” Miller said.
Former Trump White House press secretary and “Outnumbered” co-host Kayleigh McEnany agreed that Trump should put his campaign announcement “on pause.”
“If I’m advising any [presidential] contender, DeSantis, Trump, whomever, no one announces 2024 until we get through Dec. 6,” McEnany said Wednesday.
McEnany referenced Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose dominant re-election victory on Tuesday prompted many conservatives to declare him the de-facto leader of the Republican Party. Their adulation of DeSantis has infuriated Trump, who went on a tirade against DeSantis on Truth Social Thursday.
If a hypothetical DeSantis v. Trump 2024 matchup is imminent, Stefanik made her loyalties clear.
“I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President in 2024. I fully support him running again. Under his presidency, America was strong at home and abroad, our economy was red hot, our border was secure, our neighborhoods were safe, our law enforcement was respected, and our enemies feared us,” Stefanik told Breitbart News.
She continued, “We cannot afford another four years of Joe Biden’s failed policies that have led to the inflation crisis, border crisis, and crime crisis. It is time for Republicans to unite around the most popular Republican in America, who has a proven track record of conservative governance. Poll after poll shows that President Trump would defeat any Republican challenger by massive margins, and would beat Joe Biden if the election were held today. President Trump has always put America First, and I look forward to supporting him so we can save America.”