Which may seem banal — unless you know that McConnell never says anything without a) thinking about it first and b) meaning exactly what he says.
Given that, it’s right to read McConnell’s answer as a sort of “come on in, the water’s fine” moment, an attempt to ensure that aspiring Republican contenders wouldn’t get spooked by Trump being in the race.
It also runs directly counter to how Trump has talked about his candidacy — and the 2024 race more broadly.
2) He’s dismissive of the other potential contenders. Of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump said this in the same interview: “I endorsed Ron, he was at 3, and as soon as I endorsed him, he went to first place, he was not gonna win.”
McConnell knows this — and is working to counteract it.
Whether any major candidates — DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence — ultimately jump in is, of course, outside of the control of both Trump and McConnell.
And whether anyone who does run can actually beat Trump is a question no one can answer right now.
The Point: McConnell clearly prefers someone other than Trump as the party’s nominee in 2024, so he’s doing what he can to encourage them to not be bullied by the former President from running.