Republicans rally around possible Trump 2024 bid as they downplay his role on January 6 - CNN
Oct 13, 2021 2 mins, 10 secs

The southern New Jersey congressman, whose district narrowly backed Trump last year, bluntly said that he does not think Trump is responsible for the events of January 6, contending that the former President didn't call for violence.

"I think that people are responsible for their own actions."

Asked if he believes that President Joe Biden won legitimately, Van Drew said: "I am not going to make that determination.

Absolutely miss him and I would support him."

The allure of retaking the House

There is a reason that Republicans either embrace Trump's lie that the election was stolen, shrug their shoulders at his incendiary rhetoric, or whitewash his role fomenting the January 6 riot: Many believe his help will be essential to take back the House in 2022 and are eager to score his endorsement -- or, in some cases, are scared to cross him.

That dynamic was on full display last weekend at a rally in Iowa, where Trump addressed voters in a key state that is home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus.

Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, two freshman swing district Republicans who were vocal proponents of certifying the 2020 election results, all appeared alongside Trump as he continued to falsely claim that Biden did not win the White House legitimately.

The 88-year-old, who once harshly rebuked Trump for his behavior leading up to January 6, gushed about the former President on stage and said it would be "smart" to accept Trump's endorsement as he seeks another term in Congress.

When asked last week if he believes Trump bears any responsibility for January 6, Grassley noted that the committee's probe didn't dive into the events of that day, suggesting he'd wait to make a conclusion on that if there's a further probe -- carried out by Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.

But they are about evenly split over whether having the defeated former President back on the ticket in 2024 would be an advantage: 51% say that Republicans have a better chance of retaking the presidency if Trump is the nominee, with 49% saying the party would be better off with a different nominee.

Jim Banks of Indiana, the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, believes Trump would "have a great shot of winning the general election too."

"'If President Trump runs in 2024, he has my full support," Banks said.

Joe Wilson of South Carolina called January 6 "an aberration that shouldn't have occurred" but made clear that he didn't think Trump was responsible at all.

And he said that "there were irregularities that need to be looked into" when asked if he agrees with Trump continually saying the election was stolen.


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