Donald Trump expected to get two more endorsements from US senators
Despite what some critics have characterized as a "lackluster” start to his 2024 campaign, former President Donald Trump is reportedly poised to receive endorsements from two more U.S. senators this week, namely, J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Eric Schmitt (R-MO), as Politico reports.
Though Vance and Schmitt are not the first members of the upper chamber to throw their support behind Trump's White House bid, the reluctance of some of their colleagues to follow suit just yet has prompted questions about the former president's chances in a potentially crowded primary field.
Vance pledges support
As The Hill reports, Vance made his intentions about Trump's campaign known on Tuesday, declaring that he will indeed back his candidacy for the GOP nomination.
Elected in November after having received the former president's stamp of approval, Vance explained in a radio interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt, “the simple fact is Donald Trump's policies were incredibly good for this country, and he's very popular among Republican voters.”
Elaborating on his own constituency's electoral preferences, Vance noted, “In Ohio Republican circles, I'd say well over half the people in our party want Trump to run and will vote for him in the primary if he does.”
Signaling that he is penning an “article” outlining the case for Trump for imminent publication, Vance asserted simply that the former president “deserves a chance to govern again,” and that a large percentage of Republicans agree.
Schmitt signs on
Joining Vance on the list of those endorsing Trump's White House bid this week was first-term Sen. Schmitt, who claimed to have received the former president's endorsement in his Republican primary campaign last year, when Trump memorably declared his backing of “ERIC,” despite the fact that another similarly named candidate, Eric Greitens, was also in the race.
“President Trump has looked at the candidates and all that's at stake in this race, and he has given me his COMPLETE AND TOTAL ENDORSEMENT!” read a Schmitt fundraising email from last year.
Speaking to Politico, Schmitt said of Trump, “He's very popular in Missouri. He's been somebody that's gotten the support of Missourians by big margins a couple times.”
“He has my support,” Schmitt stated.
Slow rolling support
Vance and Schmitt are not the only senators to step forward in support of Trump at this phase of his campaign, as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) were already on record as backing his 2024 bid. as The Hill noted.
Graham articulated a significant rationale for his support of the former president during a campaign event in his home state over the weekend, saying, “How many times have you heard: 'We like Trump policies, but we want somebody new?' There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump.”
Tuberville's endorsement came late last year when he proclaimed of Trump, “He's the leader America needs in 2024” and adding, “[y]ou know what you're getting with President Trump. He doesn't have to learn the ropes. He knows the ropes. He won't be running again [in 2028]. I like someone who will come in and say, 'Listen, I don't care. I will do what's good for America.'”
“I might be his campaign manager,” Tuberville joked at the time.
Despite the enthusiastic words from the aforementioned senators, Politico notes that not everyone in the upper chamber is prepared to jump on board the Trump train just yet, with some high-profile figures making it clear they will wait and see how the primary field takes shape before offering any endorsements.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) expressed his belief that “there seems to be a growing desire to get some new blood,” while Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) noted simply, “[t]here will be alternatives this time around, it sounds like," as Politico noted.
Other lawmakers, such as Sens. Katie Britt (R-AL) and Steve Daines (R-MT) have demurred due to prohibitions placed on endorsement activity by virtue of their memberships on an RNC advisory council and the GOP conference campaign arm, respectively.
With Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) also remaining mum on endorsing the former president thus far, it remains to be seen whether Trump will be able to generate the type of enthusiasm among top legislators he enjoyed during his last Oval Office run.