(Part-1) Trump gains congressional Republican endorsements as resistance crumbles.

Washington — Donald Trump quietly sought Republican support before announcing his White House bid. After losing to Democrat Joe Biden and inspiring a mob of fans to invade the Capitol to overturn the 2020 election, Trump began preparing for congressional backing for a comeback in early 2021.

Trump charmed and wooed GOP politicians with opulent three-hour meals at his private clubs, telephone town-hall fundraisers, flights on his private plane, and his personal endorsements up and down the ballot.

Trump had 120 House Republicans and nearly half the Senate Republicans endorsed him at the first 2024 caucus in Iowa this month. After Trump won the New Hampshire primary, a majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress endorsed him on Wednesday. Following Trump's New Hampshire win, Speaker Mike Johnson declared, “It's past time for the Republican Party to unite around President Trump.

Trump, backed by loyal supporters and elected Republicans in Congress, has made a spectacular comeback. Those politicians seem reluctant or unable to stop his ascension, practically assuring Trump has no institutional barriers to the party nomination and possible return to power.

Trump marveled at his supporters on election night in New Hampshire, where he was trying to eliminate Nikki Haley with South Carolina endorsements. He said Sen. Tim Scott “must really hate” former Gov. Haley. The senator, a former Republican presidential contender, corrected Trump, saying, “I just love you.”

To legitimize Trump, who was twice impeached by the House, including for the Capitol rebellion, the endorsement race has been carefully arranged for years. Trump faces federal allegations of deceiving voters before the Capitol attack and hundreds of other counts in multiple court suits.

Trump has won over all segments of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill, from the House GOP leadership team, including Whip Tom Emmer, who voted to certify Biden's election, to Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who switched sides last week when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his presidential campaign.

Republicans in the Senate, some more outspoken than others, are also falling in line, save for a handful. Trump is even getting support from a New York member in a Biden-won House seat, with more swing-district Republicans likely. It's now clear that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and a few other key Republican senators are scared of Trump's comeback and haven't voted for him.

I don’t have any announcement to make on the presidential election, in fact, you all may recall I’ve stayed essentially out of it,” McConnell stated before New Hampshire. He slammed Trump in 2021 for the Capitol attack, but voted to acquit him at the Senate impeachment trial. Trump normally doesn't like McConnell's backing for the Republican nominee, as second-ranking Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told reporters Wednesday at the Capitol.