Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said on Sunday that he and other Republicans are unsure of whether Donald Trump would be able to beat President Joe Biden in the 2024 election, should the criminally indicted former president become the GOP nominee.
In the crowded race to be the Republican presidential nominee, several polls have shown Trump as the decisive front-runner. The ex-president’s massive lead comes despite being indicted in four criminal cases, two of which are related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
In an interview with Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rounds said that he’s worried about whether Trump could actually win in a 2024 rematch against Biden.
“We don’t know. That’s one of the concerns that a lot of people have got, me as well,” the senator said. “It’s the reason why I think if we bring in a uniter rather than a divider, I think we’ve got a better shot at doing what’s right for this country long term.”
Rounds repeated his public support for Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) presidential campaign, claiming that the candidate has the ability to “unite the country” and is someone “you will never be embarrassed about supporting.”
With Scott and nearly every other Republican primary candidate polling in the single digits, though, members of the GOP ― including those critical of Trump ― are having to grapple with the possibility of sticking beside the former president in the general election, even if he is convicted.
Rounds has previously been critical of Trump for his actions that led to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, saying in March that “what happened on that was as close to an attempted insurrection as we’ve seen in a very long time.” But the senator would not directly say whether he would vote for a convicted Trump if he is the GOP nominee in 2024.
“I’m hoping, truly, that we get to the point where I don’t have to make that type of a decision,” Rounds said on Sunday. “For me personally, I was there on Jan. 6. I saw what happened. I’m not happy about what happened. I was not happy with his performance on that particular day.”
“So for me. I’m hoping that we’re gonna be able to look at other candidates. For mine, it’s Tim Scott.”