ORLANDO, Fla. – Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said on Saturday that Republicans are "destined" to lose in 2022 and 2024 if it rejects former President Donald Trump, his voters and an agenda he said makes the GOP the "party of the working class."
Banks, the head of the Republican Study Committee, spoke to Fox News at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and praised Trump for setting an agenda that appealed to working class Americans.
"President Trump has taught us a lot about appealing to working class voters, he made our party the working class party again," he said.
Banks identified issues the GOP should pursue like tackling China, being pro-family, setting an agenda of peace through strength abroad, pushing back against Big Tech and "restoring trust in our elections."
However, he noted there are a number of anti-Trump voices in the party, some of whom in Congress supported his impeachment. Banks didn’t mention anyone by name, but expressed concern that sidelining Trump and his voters would lead to defeat for Republicans.
"But we do have a few voices in the Republican Party that want to erase Donald Trump and the voters he represents in our party -- if we do that we’re destined to lose elections in 2022, there’s no way we’ll win the White House in 2024," he said.
It comes at a time when the party and the conservative movement are discussing how to adapt to the Biden-era. At CPAC, sponsored by Fox Nation, there weren’t many anti-Trump voices. Figures like Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., stayed away from the conference -- at which Trump spoke and took aim at his critics by name.
Meanwhile the CPAC attendees largely backed Trump for another White House bid, with Trump winning the CPAC straw poll for who should run in 2024 -- picking up 55 percent of the vote.
Whether or not Trump ran again, Banks was positive about the party’s chances in those elections, but only if the party sticks close to the 45th president -- who he said has flipped the Democrats into the party of big business, Wall St. and Silicon Valley.
"[Trump’s] footprint on the Republican Party is a strong one and a positive one and in many ways but none more so than making our party the party of the working class," he said.
"If we lose sight of that, Republicans won’t win elections for a long time, but if we remain focused on policies that put working Americans first and what we stand for as a Republican Party, I believe we’re destined to win back the majority, a large majority and whether it’s Donald Trump or another figure who emerges and runs on this agenda, we’re going to win back the White House in 2024 and America’s going to be better off," he said.