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WASHINGTON: A prominent US Senate Republican on Sunday said former President Donald Trump should drop out of the 2024 Republican White House race, arguing that Trump cannot win a general election contest against Democratic President Joe Biden.

Senator Bill Cassidy, one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump at the former president’s second impeachment trial in 2021, described a federal documents case against Trump as “almost a slam dunk” and warned that voters would not elect someone convicted of a crime as president.

Asked if Trump should drop out of the presidential race, the Louisiana Republican told CNN’s “State of the Union” program: “I think so. But, obviously, that’s up to him. I mean, you’re just asking me my opinion. But he will lose to Joe Biden, if you look at the current polls.” Cassidy, a Republican known for his bipartisan dealings, played a leading role in crafting a $1 trillion infrastructure bill in 2021.

Trump is the leading Republican presidential candidate despite mounting legal woes that include four criminal indictments, one of which involves his handling of US classified documents after he left the White House in 2021.

“We may have a candidate for president who has been convicted of a crime. I think Joe Biden needs to be replaced but I don’t think Americans will vote for someone who’s been convicted. So, I’m just very sorry about how all this is playing out,” Cassidy said.

In the most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll released this month, Trump held 47% of the Republican vote nationally, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropping six percentage points from July down to just 13%. None of the other candidates due to attend the first party primary debate on Wednesday have broken out of single digits.

Trump is expected to skip the debate and instead sit for an online interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

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