2024 Election

2nd-Ranking GOP Senator Thune Endorses Trump

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The second-ranking Senate Republican endorsed former President Donald Trump on Sunday as Trump’s delegate lead over GOP rival Nikki Haley continues to grow, paving the way toward a 2020 rematch against President Joe Biden.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is the minority whip, shared his decision with Fox News after Trump emerged victorious in the GOP primary in Haley’s home state of South Carolina by roughly 20 points this weekend.

“The primary results in South Carolina make clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president in this year’s pivotal presidential election,” Thune said. “The choice before the American people is crystal clear: It’s Donald Trump or Joe Biden.”

Following Haley’s defeat on Saturday in South Carolina, where she served as governor before a stint as Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Haley told supporters she was not ready to bow out of the race as other leading GOP challengers have done.

With the completion of contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, the Virgin Islands and South Carolina, Trump has 107 delegates while Haley has 17. A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to win the nomination.

Trump has secured endorsements from more than half of the Republicans in the Senate. And he has endorsements from at least 132 House Republicans — including top members of their leadership — and 11 governors, according to The Hill’s tracker.

Haley has endorsements from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) as well as Govs. Phil Scott (R-VT) and Chris Sununu (R-NH). She has no endorsements in the Senate.

Thune follows Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the No. 3 GOP lawmaker in the upper chamber, in backing Trump. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the only one within the Senate’s top three members of Republican leadership who had not endorsed Trump as of press time. Thune previously backed Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who has since suspended his 2024 campaign and endorsed Trump.

“I support former President Trump’s campaign to win the presidency, and I intend to do everything I can to see that he has a Republican majority in the Senate working with him to restore American strength at home and abroad,” Thune said.

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“Together we must put an end to the disastrous Biden-Schumer agenda,” he added, alluding to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Our country cannot endure another four years of Bidenomics, continued lawlessness at our southern border, and American weakness on the global stage.”

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