'They're in his pocket': Morning Joe's Heilemann rips GOP for getting in line behind Trump after Capitol riot

Discussing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) statement that he would support Donald Trump if he becomes the Republican Party presidential nominee in 2024, MSNBC's John Heilemann said the GOP leadership is falling in line with the "cranks" in the party who are dismissing the Capitol riot.

Speaking with "Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the political analyst accused the GOP of being, once again, in Trump's "pocket."

"The group of these leaders, much of the Republican -- what constitutes the leadership of the Republican Party -- is now down in Florida where they are going to all gather around Donald Trump," he said of the conservative conference beginning on Friday. "Many of the people on that speaker's list at CPAC are people who fall into the category of outright deniers of Joe Biden's legitimacy, many of whom have a side-car set of beliefs or in the camp that you're talking about right now, the ones minimizing what happened at the Capitol January 6th. what is going to get set the next three days."

"You mentioned [Sen.] Ron Johnson (R-WI), but Mitch McConnell stunned in the last couple days -- when he gave that scathing speech at the end after the verdict that had been rendered in the Trump impeachment trial, laying the entire thing at Donald Trump's feet, even though he voted to acquit, even the legal culpability, encouraging law enforcement to take Donald Trump and press criminal charges effectively," he continued, "and then was asked 'would you support him if he was the nominee?' and he said 'of course I would support Donald Trump if he was the nominee of the party."

"It's not just the cranks, not just the Ron Johnsons, the Matt Gaetz's, " he suggested. "It is the desire on, one hand, to exonerate the president in a way that is 'let's forget about what happened January 6th.' A lot of the Republicans, their motto seems to be let's forget as fast as possible. What happens at CPAC will add up to a collective window where this party is with respect to what happened on January 6th. Not just what they think about Donald Trump -- they know that already -- they are devoted to Donald Trump, they are in his pocket."

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