Former President Donald Trump on Thursday endorsed Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., for 2022 reelection — though the Johnson hasn’t announced he’ll launch a bid.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that Johnson vowed when first elected to the Senate that he’d only serve two terms.
“Even though he has not yet announced that he is running, and I certainly hope he does, I am giving my Complete and Total Endorsement to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,” Trump said in a statement released by Save America PAC, the Journal Sentinel reported.
“He is brave, he is bold, he loves our Country, our Military, and our Vets,” Trump stated. “He will protect our Second Amendment, and everything else we stand for. It is the kind of courage we need in the U.S. Senate. He has no idea how popular he is. Run, Ron, Run!”
The endorsement came ahead of the Republican National Committee’s spring donor retreat in Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend; Johnson is scheduled to be one of the speakers, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Trump is also expected to speak to the donors at a cocktail event at Mar-a-Lago.
Last month, Johnson said leaving office after his second term is “probably my preference now,” The Hill reported.
But a number of GOP 2022 retirement announcements might tip the scale.
Those who’ve already announced their retirements include GOP Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, The Hill noted.
Democrats are eager for a shot to face Johnson in 2022 — and Senate Republicans want him to run again, according to Politico.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is eager for Johnson to make a decision soon, Politico reported, citing unnamed sources.
Johnson has a fraught relationship with McConnell after national Republicans aligned with him and then bailed on Johnson during the closing months of his first reelection campaign in 2016, Politico reported.
Johnson has been a key Trump ally, and campaigned with him last year. He’s also among the senators who challenged the 2020 election results, ultimately voting to certify the results after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
According to the Journal Sentinel, a competitive Democrat primary is shaping up while Johnson mulls his move. The runners include Alex Lasry, on leave from his executive job with the Milwaukee Bucks.
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