February 26, 2024

Second-Highest Ranking GOP Senate Member Endorses Trump

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, the second-ranking Senate Republican leader, has thrown his support behind former President Donald Trump for reelection, marking a significant endorsement from the establishment faction of the Republican Party.

Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, serves as the top deputy to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell within the Senate GOP.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Thune emphasized Trump's strong showing in the South Carolina Republican primary as a decisive factor in his endorsement.

He underscored the stark choice facing the American electorate between Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden, pledging his backing for Trump's bid to reclaim the presidency and advocating for a Republican-controlled Senate to advance their shared agenda of bolstering American strength domestically and internationally.

Thune's endorsement followed a phone call between him and Trump on Saturday night, following the former president's resounding victory in the South Carolina primary.

It had been uncertain whether Thune, a potential successor to lead the Senate Republican Conference, would publicly back any of the leading candidates for the 2024 GOP nomination.

His endorsement of Trump adds weight to the former president's standing within the party.

Notably, Thune had previously supported South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's presidential bid and had refrained from overtly aligning with Trump. However, with Scott withdrawing from the race and endorsing Trump, Thune's stance shifted, signaling a growing alignment with the former president.

Thune's endorsement places additional pressure on McConnell, who has kept a distance from Trump and refrained from openly endorsing him in the GOP primary.

Despite facing criticism from Trump over his handling of the Capitol riot and the 2020 election, Thune secured a resounding reelection victory in 2022, further solidifying his standing within the party.

Trump's triumph over former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in the South Carolina primary further solidified his position as a dominant force within the Republican Party, with Thune's endorsement adding to the momentum behind his candidacy.

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