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Saying Trump 'lost his mind,' Jacobs urges GOP to choose another nominee in 2024

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WASHINGTON– Saying President Trump “lost his mind” after the 2020 election, Rep. Chris Jacobs on Friday called on the Republican Party to choose someone else as its presidential nominee in 2024.

“I think it would be best for the party if we embrace the new generation of leadership,” Jacobs, an Orchard Park Republican, said in a wide-ranging interview that dealt largely with his career-ending decision to embrace gun control measures after the May 14mass shooting at the Tops Markets store in Buffalo. “I just think we have a great bench of up-and-coming leaders, and I think that it would just be best if we did that.”

Jacobs did not identify any of the particular leaders he would like to see come to represent the party in the next presidential election, but he made clear that his views of Trump changed after the 2020 election – which Trump lost t to Democrat Joe Biden – and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol that Trump encouraged.

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“I just think his judgment from Election Day to January 6 was– I just think he lost his mind,” Jacobs said. “I really do. I just do.”

In other words, Jacobs’ views on Trump have shifted dramatically since early 2020, when Jacobs pursued and won an effusive endorsement from the then-president.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive President Trump’s endorsement,” Jacobs said in February 2020 after Trump tweeted that he backed Jacobs over two others in a Republican primary in what was his first congressional election. “I appreciate his trust and stand ready to join him in the fight against socialism and to help him enact his America First Agenda to rebuild our military, grow the economy and finally secure our borders.”

Jacobs himself voted on Jan. 6, 2021, not to certify the election results that showed Biden winning the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania, saying they made unconstitutional changes to their election laws without approval from their state legislatures. Jacobs also voted against impeaching Trump after the insurrection, saying the impeachment process was too rushed.

Now, though, he criticizes Trump as an ungraceful loser, citing the 1960 presidential race in which John F. Kennedy narrowly beat Richard M. Nixon as an example of how to lose more gracefully.

“Most people agree that there was fraud in that race,” Jacobs said. “Did they know back then? Oh, absolutely. But even Richard Nixon didn’t try to do what happened (with Trump in 2020). Nixon came back and fought another day. And we’ve all played in sports where there’s bad calls made.

“Even if it was fraud and I’m not saying it was, should you try to burn the whole place down?” Jacobs asked. “And I think the answer is definitively no.”

Jacobs lauded Trump’s performance as president on the economy, energy prices, international affairs and the “Operation Warp Speed” effort to rush production of Covid-19 vaccines.

“But a lot of that was undone” by Trump’s focus on remaining in office after losing to Biden, Jacobs added.

Jacobs also noted that he supported censuring Trump shortly after Jan. 6 because of his role in encouraging the because of his role in encouraging the crowd at a rally that day to march on the Capitol, a conclusion that helped lead Jacobs to believe that his party would be better off with a different 2024 presidential nominee.

“I did say after January 6 that I would have supported as I was open to a censure because I don’t think that Trump handled himself appropriately, so yes, I think that absolutely, that is part of the reason I think it’s time to move forward,” he said.

Jacobs also was one of just a handful of Republicans to support creation of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying such a nonpartisan body would have much more credibility with a deeply divided public than a congressional committee could.

Nevertheless, Jacobs said he has been watching the recent hearings of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol and that he would have more to say about its findings and Trump after the committee issues its final report.

“Even if it was fraud and I’m not saying it was, should you try to burn the whole place down? And I think the answer is definitively no.”

– Rep. Chris Jacobs