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Trump doesn’t commit to stay out of Senate primaries despite prodding by top GOP senator

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, urged former President Donald Trump to back the candidates who win Senate primaries next year rather than engage in intra-party fights that could harm the party’s chances at taking back the majority in the midterm elections.

Asked Tuesday if Trump agreed with his suggestion, Scott said: “He didn’t respond.”

Scott, who met with Trump last week at his Florida golf resort, said the former President’s intentions in primary season remain unclear.

“He didn’t say,” Scott told CNN when asked if Trump would engage in Senate primaries. “He didn’t say he was going to. What I pitched to him is, that I’m going to work hard doing what I’m going to do. I’m sure he wants to be helpful, so the best thing for him to do would be to participate in whoever wins the primaries and come back then.”

Scott, whose committee plans to stay neutral in primaries where incumbent Republican senators aren’t on the ballot, added: “Well I told him, you know, so I don’t get involved in primaries, and I said, ‘I think it’s in his best interest to have winning candidates and so it’d be helpful if he did after the primary.'”

While Trump didn’t commit to Scott’s suggestion, the GOP senator noted there would be “robust” Senate primaries in a number of crucial states “so I think it’s better to wait ’til after the primary.”

Trump and his advisers have signaled he plans to get behind Senate candidates in his mold. It remains to be whether those candidates conflict with the ideal choices of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who told CNN last week that his high-spending super PAC is prepared to engage in primaries “only if necessary.”

But McConnell and Trump have not been on speaking terms for months, a cold war that intensified after the Senate GOP leader excoriated the former President’s actions in the run-up to the January 6 Capitol attack, even as the Kentucky Republican voted to acquit him at his impeachment trial on a charge of inciting an insurrection.

Yet at their sit down last week, Trump’s beef with McConnell didn’t come up, according to Scott.

“I’m the one who’s made sure we don’t have a civil war,” Scott said.

McConnell and Scott both have indicated that they plan to support all Republican incumbents, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who enraged Trump after voting for his conviction at the end of his impeachment trial earlier this year. Trump has said he won’t back her reelection, but Scott told Trump he had different plans.

“All I said was, I’m going to support all the incumbent Republicans,” Scott said.

CNN Newsource


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