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Top Republicans Hesitating to Endorse Trump's 2020 Reelection Campaign

Trump announced his reelection campaign during his 2017 inaugural address.

Top Republicans Hesitating to Endorse Trump's 2020 Reelection Campaign
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

During his inaugural address on January 20 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intention to run for reelection in 2020. But with a growing slew of personal lawsuits and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe closing in on the president, many prominent Republicans are sharing their hesitations about backing Trump's 2020 bid.

A number of Congressional Republicans are saying that it's too early to endorse Trump's bid for reelection.

"I don't know what the world is going to look like," said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), the number two Republican in the Senate, when asked if he'd endorse Trump for re-election. "But let's say it's not something I've given any thought to. I haven't even thought about that election," he added in a GOP conference. "I'm worried about the midterm election."

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) told CNN's New Day that "it's too early to weigh in on who I might support." Corker added that he would "want to know who else is in the field" for the Republican nomination in 2020.

Earlier this year, Corker announced that he will not seek reelection this fall, in part because of Trump's serial dishonesty, as well as his unpredictable and often brash behavior.

"A wide-array of Republicans won't say they'll back Trump for re-election in 2020, ranging from lawmakers in leadership to the rank-and-file. Some don't know if he'll run, others want to avoid topic at all costs. Many say it's far too early," wrote CNN's Manu Raju.

Tennessee's other Republican Senator Lamaar Alexander said that Trump's reelection bid is not something on which is he currently focused, citing the ongoing opioid epidemic which continues to claim thousands of lives across the country. "Look, I'm focused on opioids," said Alexander. "And I was just reelected myself three years ago. So, I'm focused on that."

Some Republicans think it's premature to discuss the prospects of another Trump campaign.

"That's a little loaded," said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI). "One: we need to make sure that he's actually moving forward and wants to go after this -- so when he makes a declaration, then I think that would be a time to determine whether there are others (who) run or not."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has often butted heads with Trump, said that he would support Trump in 2020, should he actually decide to run.

"As to the 2020 presidential race, I believe President @realDonaldTrump will run for reelection and I intend to support him."

This is a complete 180 degree shift from 2016, when Graham said that "we will get destroyed... and we will deserve it." My how times have changed.

Arizona's outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who some have speculated may try to mount a primary challenge against Trump in 2020, echoed sentiment that it's too early to speculate about what may happen nearly two years into the future.

"I wouldn't gauge what support there is a year-and-a-half from now from what support there is now," Flake told CNN. "Certainly, now, this is Donald Trump's party. The base is with him in a big way. Believe me, we all know. But that's not to say that will hold."

The upcoming midterm elections in November are also a source of reservation about Trump's reelection among Republicans.

"Wait until the midterms," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is retiring from Congress. "If we get wiped out, the question is going to be: 'Should we do that again?'"

Freshman GOP Senator from Louisiana John Kennedy offered similar sentiment.

"I've supported the President in the past and support him now but three years from now?" said Kennedy. "I think the midterms are a long ways away in terms of politics; I don't get involved that far ahead."

Susan Collins, a Republican Senator from Maine, said that she may or may not support Trump. Collins was an outspoken opponent of Trump's candidacy in 2016.

"I did not endorse the President for the Republican nomination in 2016," said Collins. "I supported first Jeb Bush and then John Kasich. So, again, I think it is far too early to make a judgment of that type."