A Republican member of the House retiring later this year said in a new interview that former President Donald Trump “lost his mind” and tried to burn down the US system of government after losing his election to Joe Biden.
Chris Jacobs made the comments in an interview with the Buffalo News, explaining that he believes the ex-president unraveled mentally during the period between election day and January 6, when he encourage thousands of his supporters to travel to Washington DC and they stormed the US Capitol.
The admission is significant coming from a Republican who proudly touted the president’s endorsement earlier in 2020 and voted in favour of sustaining objections to the results from some states where the Trump campaign baselessly alleged fraud in the 2022 election.
“I just think his judgment from Election Day to January 6 was – I just think he lost his mind,” Mr Jacobs told the news oulet.
“Even if it was fraud and I’m not saying it was, should you try to burn the whole place down?” the congressman continued. “And I think the answer is definitively no.”
The retiring New York Republican announced his plans to stand down from a reelection bid earlier this year. He added in the interview that he hoped Republicans would pick another nominee in 2024, and that he supported censuring Mr Trump after the January 6 attack.
But like many Republicans who have made such statements, it wasn’t clear from his words whether he would support Donald Trump in a general election matchup against Joe Biden or another Democrat.
“I think it would be best for the party if we embrace the new generation of leadership,” he said in the interview.
Mr Trump remains a heavy favourite to win the GOP nomination in 2024 if he runs, though some in the party have begun rallying around the prospect of a bid by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Neither have announced their intentions for 2024 yet, with Mr Trump supposedly waiting until after the midterms to announce his decision.
Vast majorities of Americans do not want Donald Trump to run for office in 2024, according to polls, while President Joe Biden faces skepticism within his own party as well regarding whether he should or will run for reelection.