GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy blamed the disappointing performance of candidates backed by former President Donald Trump for Republicans failing to secure the Senate — insisting that his party needs to focus on the future and not the past.
“Those that were most closely aligned with the past, those are the ones that underperformed. We as a party need to have a debate about ideas. In that debate we need to explain to the American people exactly where we think our country should go,” the Louisiana Republican said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Republicans were widely expected to take control of the House and the Senate, based on historical trends of midterm elections, President Biden’s weak job approval rating and Americans’ deep dissatisfaction with the economy.
But Democrats retained power Saturday after Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto eked out a win in Nevada. Control in the House still remains up for grabs.
Cassidy said Americans are looking toward the future and Republicans must deliver on that.
“I learned that the American people want a way forward that actually focuses on ideas, ideas that will make their lives better, not just their lives but that for future generations,” he said.
“Those who are most closely aligned with the former president underperformed. Those who are talking about the future or who had managed their states well, they overperformed,” he added.
“The American people want ideas. They want a future.”
Trump backed a slate of Republican candidates in the midterm elections that hewed to his belief that the 2020 presidential election was rife with fraud and that he did not lost to Biden.
Asked if he would support Trump if he is the Republican nominee in 2024, Cassidy once again pointed the party toward the future.
“Our party should be about the future. I think our next candidate will be looking to the future, not to the past, and I think our next candidate will win. And so I anticipate supporting a candidate that is looking to the future,” he said.
He also said Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, should remain in his position.
“I think Mitch kind of pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for candidates who, for whatever reason, were having a difficult time raising the money that, as you pointed out, was required to have a winning campaign. And I think going forward, Mitch will be our leader,” Cassidy said.
“But that is not to say that we’re not going to have a necessary debate about ideas. And I think it’s very, again, one more time, important for us to explain to the American voter why Republicans have a better vision for the future of our country,” he said.