EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., has hinted who his choice for president will be in the increasingly crowded 2024 Republican primary field.
“It’s not that difficult,” Braun told Fox News Digital, to see that former President Trump is the candidate who portrays the success of the U.S. prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and he stressed that the nation needed to get back to what was working to create that success.
“When Trump came onto the scene back in 2016, he was the clear manifestation of half of the country fed up with business as usual in D.C.,” Braun said. “I’ve been there a little over four years, and it’s worse than what you might imagine. I think all of that is still there in terms of frustration. Now we’re even willing to borrow money from our kids and grandkids.
“I think when it comes to that candidate that can portray what was working so well pre-COVID, and we know who that was. It was President Trump,” he said. “It’s not that difficult. It was working then.”
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He added, however, that whichever Republican candidate was going to talk about America’s future through the lens of the policies that have already been proven “to work best,” is going to be the candidate to win.
“I think there’s only been one place where we’ve seen that happen. And I think it’s going to be up to any of the candidates to articulate how we get back there,” he said.
Asked about the ongoing legal proceedings against Trump and the 34 felony falsification of business records charges brought against him by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Braun said it came down to Democrats “not liking someone from the outside,” and “someone that really wants to fix the system.”
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“I think he’s going to navigate through that. He’s a fighter. He’s a survivor and he’s leading currently. And I think that’s mostly due to the fact that when you look around of any alternatives, you can see what the other side of the aisle wants to offer: more federal government in every aspect of our lives, borrowing the money from our kids and grandkids to legislate accordingly,” Braun said.
“We need to just get back again. Look what was working pre-COVID. And I think the issues he has to deal with are extraneous, so that makes it more complicated. But it’s not impossible to craft that message that will work,” he added.
Braun, who is running to be the next governor of Indiana, also spoke to Fox about the importance of conservatives properly articulating support for constitutional protections like the Second Amendment. He ripped Democrats for trying to “replace everything with the federal government” and noted that areas across the country experiencing the most gun violence are places Democrats have been in charge of for decades.
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He argued the focus should be on getting better at handling mental health issues, which he noted “generally” are to blame when a mass shooting happens. He spoke against punishing “law-abiding citizens” and stressed that passing more laws, many of which he said already aren’t enforced, was not the right way to address gun violence.
“In our own state, which is a state that loves freedom, loves liberty, wants public safety, I think we’ve got a pretty good mix of what it takes to keep our citizens safe,” Braun said. “I’m going to be interested in if there’s any common sense way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. I’m going to listen.
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“Otherwise, the feds try to encroach enough with whatever they want to do because that’s the way they roll. That’s not the way we roll here in Indiana.”