Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana, is pictured at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.
CNN  — 

Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said reaction has been “positive” to his unexpected endorsement Monday of Donald Trump to be president and he described the move as something that will help Republican candidates win in next year’s elections.

“We are going to keep working together to ensure that we get candidates who can win primaries and general elections,” Daines said about his ability to coordinate with Trump – who is very popular with Republican base voters – now the he has thrown his full support behind the former president for another term in office.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking member of the GOP leadership, said he spoke to Daines after he made the endorsement and backed the decision.

“He’s got a tough job to do and he’s got a lot races around the country that we need to win and I think he wants as many allies as possible,” Thune said.

Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn said Daines’ announcement should help bring to the polls GOP primary voters who support Trump and cautioned that Daines is headed into a very difficult 2024 election cycle when Republicans are trying to win back the Senate and White House while holding the House.

“He’s entitled to some latitude considering the complexity of the political environment we are entering into,” Cornyn said. “The goal is to win the majority back. I don’t really care what the tactics are. I do care what the results is. If this helps achieve that result, I’m fine with it.”

Daines on Tuesday entered a leadership meeting in the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – who has a famously testy relationship with Trump – and did not answer when asked if he had informed other GOP leaders in advance of his endorsement.

The last head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, developed poor relations with McConnell and other leaders due to some of his decisions related to picking primary candidates and his public backing of a controversial plan to sunset key entitlement programs.

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina also justified Daines’ decision saying Trump won Montana by a wide margin and “as chair of the NRSC, he’s making strategic decisions about how we best execute in three or four states.”

“I don’t think Steve Daines does anything that doesn’t go through a strategic consideration and that’s why I supported him for chair,” Tillis said, while adding that it’s a “valid scenario” that having Trump and Daines aligned could bolster results for GOP candidates.

Another GOP senator, Joni Ernst of Iowa, said she was “surprised” by Daines’ decision but would not elaborate why.

Daines is the only member of the Senate GOP leadership team to make a presidential endorsement. Some top Republican senators have said that they would like to back Sen. Tim Scott, the South Carolina Republican who has formed a presidential exploratory committee, but hasn’t made a formal announcement for president.