ST. LOUIS–Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, up for re-election in 2024, told Spectrum News in an interview this week that it is “inevitable” that former President Donald Trump will be the GOP’s nominee for the office next year.

“I've always said I will support the nominee of the party and I really think Trump's gong to be the nominee. I just don't think there's a lot of question at this point,” Hawley said.

His comments Wednesday came on the same day that former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson declared his candidacy, joining a declared field that includes Trump, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, among others. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been campaigning in early states but has not launched an exploratory campaign. Former Vice-President Mike Pence is exploring a bid, as is Hawley’s Senate colleague Tim Scott of South Carolina.

President Joe Biden confirmed Tuesday he’ll seek re-election.

Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, endorsed Trump earlier this week. The NRSC will play a key role in directing national support for GOP Senate candidates like Hawley as the party tries to regain control of the chamber.

Fellow U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt R-Mo., and U.S. Rep. Mike Bost R-Ill and U.S. Rep. Mary Miller R-Ill have already endorsed Trump’s 2024 bid.

Trump carried Missouri in 2016 and 2020 with 56% of the vote. Hawley said Biden’s approval rating here is lower than any he’s seen for a political figure.

“He is hated in the state of Missouri and should be considering what he has done to working people, considering the giveaways to China, considering what he has cost us in terms of jobs in terms of gas prices in terms of food prices not to mention this ridiculous war on women, on girls sports,” he said. “It's a terrible record, terrible record so I look forward to him running on it because I think it's just going to be a disaster for the Democrats.”

Two most recent Saint Louis University polls, this past February and in August of 2022, both gave Biden a 36% approval rating in Missouri.