“I don’t think we need to be getting distracted,” he said. “The last runoff, people got distracted and they were focused on other things besides winning the runoff. And you saw what happened to us. So my message to people is, don’t worry about ’24.”
Three major party donors — Stephen Schwarzman, Ken Griffin and Ronald Lauder — said this week that they intended to back someone other than Mr. Trump or have no plans to support him this time. Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka said she would not be involved with his campaign, saying that she is “choosing to prioritize” her children. Groups like the conservative Club for Growth, once a staunch Trump ally, are circulating polling showing Mr. Trump trailing Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida by double digits.
Other potential contenders — including Ms. Noem, former Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia — are reassessing their 2024 chances in the wake of the midterms. Another possible contender, Mike Pompeo, who served as Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, wrote on Twitter that Republicans needed “leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood,” a reference to Mr. Trump’s declaration on Tuesday that “I’m a victim.”
On Capitol Hill, some Republican lawmakers long loyal to Mr. Trump began a slow backpedal.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, who has tied his bid to become the next House speaker to Mr. Trump’s political legacy, wouldn’t say if he will endorse Mr. Trump for president. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, a staunch ally who won his 2018 election on the back of Mr. Trump’s endorsement and support, said he was rooting for a wide-open presidential primary.
“I hope a lot of other people get in,” Mr. Cramer said. “He’s not entitled to the job. None of us are.”
Plenty of others jumped to Mr. Trump’s side, however. They included not just his most fervent supporters — Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, who lost his primary — but rising stars, such as Wesley Hunt of Texas, one of two new Black Republicans elected to the House.