One of the most anti-Donald Trump Republicans in the Senate effectively suggested Trump lost the Senate majority and said the GOP needs to look to the "future," but is backing Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to remain the Senate minority leader.
"I learned that the American people want a way forward that actually focuses on ideas, ideas that will make their lives better, not just their lives but that for future generations," Sen. Bill Cassidy, who voted to impeach Trump, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
"Those who are most closely aligned with the former president under-performed. Those who are talking about the future or who had managed their states well, they overperformed. The American people want ideas. They want a future."
But GOP direction in the Senate is up for grabs as new blood presses in. With that in mind, and despite the fact that funding decisions made by McConnell may have handed the Senate to the Democrats, Cassidy's support is clear
"I'm actually going to support Mitch," Cassidy told host Chuck Todd. "I think Mitch kind of pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for candidates who, for whatever reason, were having a difficult time raising the money that, as you pointed out, was required to have a winning campaign.
"And I think going forward, Mitch will be our leader, but that is not to say that we're not going to have a necessary debate about ideas. And I think it's very — again, one more time — important for us to explain to the American voter why Republicans have a better vision for the future of our country."
Notably, McConnell and anti-Trump Republicans like Cassidy refuse to revisit the past on the 2020 election integrity issues, and ballot counting issues in Arizona and Nevada have ultimately led to the Democrats' control of the Senate. Republicans lament the issues with elections that remain.
Cassidy did acknowledge the GOP candidates in these midterms failed to capitalize on the struggles of the Biden administration, but he also supports continued work with Democrats.
"We've got big problems in our country," Cassidy said. "The degree that both parties duck these big problems is the degree that the voter says, 'Pox on both your houses.' So let's have a debate about the domestic issues, about the foreign issues, and then let's implement.
"We've got to get some things done. By the way, Chuck, I think I can say this with some credibility, since I have been involved, or at least frankly, either in the mix or leading on issues to limit surprise medical billing, to lower the cost of prescription drugs, to do the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We can get things done. We need to get them done. And that's, I think, what the American voter's looking for."
Cassidy said "we're not a cult" when talking about who leads the party.
"We're not like, 'OK, there's one person who leads our party,'" Cassidy said after supporting McConnell to continue to be the single leader of the Senate GOP that continues to lose elections.
"If we have a sitting president, she or he will be the leader of our party. But we should be a party of ideas and principles. And that's what should lead us. And I will go back — what we've been lacking perhaps is that fulsome discussion followed up with the policy initiatives that we work to pass that will define who we are. Again, we are not going to have one person anointed, unless she or he happens to be a sitting president. We should have a set of principles and ideas and legislative accomplishments that is our lodestar, if you will. That's where we need to go."
After talking about elections being about "winning," Todd asked Cassidy is he would support Trump if he won another GOP presidential primary. Cassidy demurred.
"You're giving me a theoretical, which actually I don't think will come to transpire because we have to be looking to the future – and so you can give me a theoretical after a theoretical," he concluded.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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