With just hours until Donald Trump’s expected 2024 announcement Tuesday, Republicans on Capitol Hill wanted to focus on something else entirely: the Georgia runoff election.
“Well, the 2024 election is in 2024,” Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott on Tuesday.
“And the most important election, I think for the American people, is in Georgia. And that’s the one I’m worried about right now. We will have plenty of time to talk about 2024,” Kennedy continued.
Trump, who has been hinting at another White House bid for months, is expected to make it official at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday night.
But when asked about the timing of Trump’s expected announcement, one by one Republicans pointed right back to the Georgia runoff election between Republican Herschel Walker and Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock. The runoff will take place on Dec. 6 after neither candidate received 50% of the vote in the general election, though Warnock led Walker 49% to 48%.
Democrats have already captured the majority in the Senate with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s win in Nevada on Saturday. Cortez Masto’s victory gives Democrats the 50 seats needed to keep control, with Vice President Kamala Harris again acting as the tie-breaking vote.
If Warnock wins and Democrats get 51 seats, it will give the party a little breathing room for a single dissenter.
But the GOP said Tuesday their focus is getting Walker into office.
“I think the only thing we should be focused on is December 6, on getting Herschel Walker elected. That’s it. You know, I don’t talk about future elections until the one before us has passed,” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told Scott.
Trump’s pending announcement also comes amid GOP infighting after a lackluster performance in the midterms. With the predicted “red wave” not quite materializing, though the GOP is slated to retake control of the House, Republicans are clearly doing some soul searching.
“The Republican Party, as we know, is dead. And we’ve got to build something better, something new,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told ABC News, referring to the Republican Party over the last 30 years.
“And so I like a lot of what President Trump did as president, we need to have a discussion about going forward who’s going to be the nominee, but my view is there’ll be time for that. It’s not [even] 2023 yet. We’ve got to have a serious discussion right now,” Hawley added.
Others questioned if Trump will be or even should be the party’s nominee in 2024.
“Well anybody can run,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Scott. “I think, you know, the world has changed considerably. And just in recent weeks, and I don’t expect that he’ll be the only one who will run for president in 2024 and I’ll support the Republican nominee. But I don’t know that it will be him.”
“If he’s the nominee, I would enthusiastically support him but I also think if he chooses to run, there’s going to be a process,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. “There’s going to be a debate. We’ll see what happens.”
Dozens of Trump-backed candidates lost their races on Nov. 8, including his hand-picked choices for governor and Senate in key battleground states like Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., told Politico that the party has a new leader: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump has ramped up his criticisms of DeSantis in recent days, taking to calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious.” DeSantis fired back for the first time Tuesday, telling reporters: “I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
When asked by ABC News, “I take it you don’t want to talk about Donald Trump?” Lummis replied: “No, I don’t.”
-ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.