Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., says former President Donald Trump could make a good candidate in 2024, but declined to offer his endorsement, saying he was focused on “unpacking” his party’s disappointing midterm election results.
Banks, who is running to be majority whip for Republicans in the House, made the statement in a Fox News Sunday interview with host Shannon Bream. Bream pressed the Republican on what his party’s plans were for their new slim majority in the House, as well as his thoughts on 2024.
“Is [Trump’s] announcement on Tuesday, we expect, a good or bad thing for the GOP?” Bream asked.
“Donald Trump remains a very popular figure in the Republican Party,” Banks said, arguing that the GOP fares better when he is on the ballot.
Bream then pointed to the Trump-endorsed candidates in tight Senate races who lost, giving Democrats control over the Senate.
“He also supported many candidates who won around the country,” Banks responded. “He wasn’t on the ballot in 2022, that something to remember too…the 2024 primary is in front of us, but we’re still unpacking what happened last Tuesday.”
Asked about endorsing Trump for 2024, Banks demurred.
“Look, I believe that Donald Trump was a very effective president for our country. I believe he could be a very effective president for our country again. I’ll save my endorsement for another time for the 2024 race,” he said.
Many conservatives have argued that the disappointing performance of Trump-endorsed candidates in tight races is a sign the party needs to move on from the former president. Nevertheless, few if any Republican members of Congress have spoken against Trump since election day.
Banks is in competition with Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., for the GOP whip position.