Former President Donald Trump said that House and Senate Republicans should rally behind his “Make America Great Again” agenda if they want to retake Congress in 2022 and set the tone for the next presidential election cycle.
In an exclusive, hour-long interview with Fox News‘s Sean Hannity, Trump said that aspects of the 2020 presidential election show marked improvement for the GOP outside of their typical precincts.
As the Republican Party moves closer to being a working-class political party, Trump pointed to a “surprising detail” in Texas, which is already a red state on a macro level.
Hannity pressed Trump on whether the only road to victory is by candidates running on the conservative agenda he touted in 2016, which set him apart from more mainstream Republicans like ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and ex-Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“Should this now be the Republican Party agenda? Should anybody that wants to run for the House or the Senate — should they take this “Make America Great” agenda and fight for those things that you fought for the four years you were president?” Hannity asked.
“If they want to win, yes,” Trump responded.
Trump pointed to an increase in Hispanic voters’ support, particularly in South Texas.
The former president told Hannity he spoke with Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott after noticing that the GOP’s Hispanic vote count had risen, especially in congressional districts along the southern border.[At] the Texas border, we have the biggest Hispanic vote since—as the governor said to me… since Reconstruction,” he said.
“If you want to win and win big, you have to do that. you have to do it.”
The electoral map along Texas’ Mexican frontier remained unchanged in the 2020 election.
Observers, meanwhile, pointed to data in a few of the individual races that show the progress Trump allegedly discussed with Abbott.
The 23rd Congressional District, which extends from outside El Paso to the western suburbs of San Antonio, remained in Republican hands after Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) resigned and was replaced by Rep. Ernest Tony Gonzales (R-Texas).
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) retained his McAllen seat, though by a smaller margin than in 2018.
Trump also discussed the border crisis, telling Hannity that he would have been chastised if he had shown images of children crammed into migrant detention centers, especially in the event of a pandemic.
Trump said that the Biden administration is downplaying it as much as they possibly can. It is a terrible situation that threatens to ruin the country.
“There’s never been anything like what’s happened at our border. People are coming in by the tens of thousands. They’re walking in,” he said, blaming Biden’s policies. “All he had to do was leave it alone.”
Later on, Trump added that “I don’t know if Joe knows what’s going on with [the Second Amendment], because I think you have a cabal, you have a group of people that are sitting around a table just saying do this, do this, do this. They’re giving him these things to sign.”
The former president also expressed optimism, saying that, “Now we are going to take back the house in 22: we have a real chance.”
Trump and other top Republican leaders are said to believe that by hammering Biden on his immigration policies, Republicans will reclaim control of Congress.
Trump did not expressly state whether he would run for president in 2024 during a keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s donor summit in Florida but did float the possibility of a possible candidacy, according to a witness who spoke with CBS News.
Three months after leaving office, Trump still looms over the GOP, serving as a kingmaker for mid-term hopefuls and flirting with a 2024 run.
Trump said that abandoning his America-first ideals would be a mistake for the Republican Party, citing gains among Latinos during the previous election cycle as evidence. He advised the GOP to stay on track with the strategy he outlined.