Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the newly elected chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, all-but conceded Biden’s victory on Thursday, laying out a vision for post-Trump conservatism that doesn’t revolve around Trump in a rare break with the president.
In an interview with The Hill, Banks, a staunch Trump ally, said the president “taught us how to fight and win with an agenda that appeals to a popular base,” adding that House conservatives “must follow his example and carry the Trump message the next two years.”
But Banks also looked past Trump himself in an interview with the Washington Examiner, arguing, “The Trump agenda was what was popular — not Trump the man” despite his frequent support for the president.
Banks also joined just under a dozen, mostly moderate members of his caucus in breaking with Trump’s claims of having won the election, telling the Examiner it “appears more and more likely that Trump will not be in the White House and we will begin the post-Trump era.”
“Our party has to begin a conversation of what we look like moving forward,” Banks said, arguing Trump’s personality is ultimately what led to his loss even as House Republicans made gains supporting his policies.
Banks talked about a need to “rebuild the conservative movement” despite conceding the party “is going to look a lot more like Trump for a generation than it’s going to look like George W. Bush… or Reagan,” also expressing concern about a Trump 2024 run.
“Almost all members of our party in our Republican conference, today, are very loyal to President Trump,” Banks said. “We rally around his agenda, his message. I don’t see that changing.”
Several Trump allies in Congress have begun peeling away from him as his legal efforts and other machinations to overturn his loss have failed to yield results. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) questioned the lack of evidence during a Trump campaign press conference alleging widespread fraud and called claims made by one Trump attorney at the event “offensive.” Others, like Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-S.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have conceded the likelihood of a Biden victory.
What To Watch For
“President Trump is ‘seriously’ considering a 2024 bid for president and has ‘100%’ mentioned it in conversations with his top advisers in recent days,” CBS reported based on an anonymous Trump campaign senior adviser. CBS also reported Trump’s advisers “have been actively working to keep the president’s options open as they begin to plan his political future.”
Source: Forbes – Business