Mike Rounds won’t commit to supporting GOP nominee if it’s not Tim Scott

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., on Sunday wouldn’t commit to supporting the eventual GOP presidential nominee if it isn’t South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, whom Rounds has endorsed.

During an interview on “Meet the Press,” Rounds was asked by NBC News’ Chuck Todd if he would back “whoever the Republicans nominate, even if it’s [former President Donald Trump].”

Rounds said he is hopeful that Scott will secure the 2024 Republican nomination, but would need to “reassess” otherwise.

“Well, right now, I’m hoping it’s going to be Tim Scott,” he said. “And if it’s not, then I’m going to have to reassess because I’ve always supported the Republican nominee in the past.”

“I hope Tim is the nominee,” he added. “There are going to be some other good people as well, but I’m gonna hold that back until we find out how Tim does.”

Pressed by Todd about whether the reason he’s not pledging to support the nominee is due to the legal issues facing Trump, Rounds said: “Not so much that — I just simply think that there are some very good Republican nominees out there.”

“And I’m going to wait and see which one comes out ahead, but I’ve supported the Republican nominee in the past,” he added.

Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, announced his presidential bid last month, joining a rapidly growing field of GOP hopefuls looking to challenge Trump. In remarks announcing his campaign, Scott cast himself as the candidate “the far-left fears most,” and described the campaign as a time to choose between “victimhood or victory” and “grievance or greatness.”

In addition to Rounds, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the No. 2 Senate Republican, also threw his support behind Scott and appeared in an opening prayer during his presidential campaign announcement.

Rounds has frequently called out Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 presidential election, and previously suggested that lawmakers who want to unite the GOP may be seeking a Trump alternative in 2024.

Rounds decried Trump’s remarks about the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack made a town hall on CNN last month, during which the former president called the riot “a beautiful day.”

“The vast majority of us that were here on Jan. 6 would clearly disagree with the approach that he has in that regard,” Rounds said in response to Trump’s comments during the CNN town hall. “So there are some things that we agreed with, but there are a number of areas where we would have disagreements.”

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