Three years after delivering a scorching denouncement of Donald J. Trump after the Jan. 6 riot, Senator Mitch McConnell endorsed him for president on Wednesday, illustrating Mr. Trump’s power to bend the Republican Party to his will as he marches to the G.O.P. nomination.

Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican minority leader, and Mr. Trump had not said a word to each other since December 2020. But people close to both men had been working behind the scenes for weeks to pave the way for the endorsement.

The Kentucky Republican had been the highest-ranking member of the party to withhold an endorsement for Mr. Trump. And for the former president, Mr. McConnell’s backing could be important as he tries to corral some Republican donors who have been leery of him.

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