Trump influence overtakes McCarthy race to be next House speaker

Some in Trump’s orbit have even floated the wild – but technically possible – idea that the former President should create a play for the look. While that’s a highly unlikely scenario, the fact that it’s even been teased in some conservative circles is getting McCarthy’s attention and reminding Republicans of Trump’s leverage. still in the party.

Emphasizing the idea that Trump has the power to make or break McCarthy’s mandate for speaker, Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado said Trump is “important in everything he considers,” so it’s “obvious.” clear” applies to a speaker’s race. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio said that “of course” Trump would have an influence on the outcome if he were to join. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee said that Trump’s voice really “has weight.” And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said Trump’s comments will have a “big time” impact and “100%.”

According to interviews with more than a dozen GOP lawmakers, if the former President endorses McCarthy for the speaker position, it will provide an important impetus to the California Republican Party’s path to power. That’s because Trump’s most staunch supporters in Congress – some of whom have expressed growing skepticism and frustration with McCarthy in recent weeks – are still taking cues from the former president. President.

And those lawmakers could ultimately become the deciding vote in a speaker’s race, depending on their party’s profits if Republicans topple the House. The hard-line Liberal Party caucus, which has become a club for Trump’s fiercest defenders, consists of about 40 members.

Trump staying neutral on the campaign trail will also be a boon for McCarthy, who is a clear frontrunner for the top job as he raises piles of cash and principal for candidates around the country.

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On the other hand, if Trump publicly or even privately opposes McCarthy – or encourages others to challenge him – it will almost certainly create a math problem for McCarthy, who needs 218 votes to win. speaker rights on the floor. . Trump’s potential influence in the Republican leadership elections in the House is in stark contrast to the Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell maintains unwavering support for his convention despite Trump repeatedly against Kentucky Republicans.

“Leader McCarthy is an important partner in President Trump’s effort to win back the House of powerful Republicans who will fight for his America First agenda.” , Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said in a statement.

“Kevin has his full backing. But if he plays against him, it sucks,” said GOP Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama.

Like Rogers, many Republicans believe Trump will eventually get behind McCarthy if Republicans win back the House next year — or at least stay out of it. McCarthy is one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters, and having a trusted ally in charge of the House would be a huge boon for Trump should he decide to run for president in 2024.

“I have no doubt Kevin will be a speaker,” said Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, who heads the conservative Republican Research Committee. “And part of that is because he maintains a good relationship with President Trump.”

McCarthy’s right wing insurgency threat

However, some of Trump’s most staunch supporters in Congress have signaled that they won’t just automatically pass votes on to speakers – a preview of the challenges that will come for McCarthy in his hunt for the best. mine.

“I’m going to put things on the table that I’d like to see change over time, then we’ll see what happens and see if anyone else is running,” Greene told reporters before recess. are not”.

Representative Chip Roy of Texas, who recently met McCarthy in a private meeting of the GOP, also had some strong words for the Republican leadership: “The convention as a whole makes sense. growing, not just the Freedom Caucus, that we need to fight. …We need to step on the gas.”

The threat of an uprising from McCarthy’s right wing, which had denied him the right to speak once before, prompted McCarthy to perform a delicate balancing act. Last week, he faced a backlash from conservatives for not punishing 13 Republicans in the House voted for bipartisan infrastructure legislation.
Republicans voted on Biden's infrastructure bill opposed by Trump
But then McCarthy stood firmly behind Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican who was being fired for posted a graphic video depicting violence against Democrats, which has earned him many accolades on the right. He even promised to reinstate Gosar and Greene to their committees, potentially even the “better” ones, if Republicans win back the House.
And after that day, McCarthy made a marathon, movie-like speech on the House floor to protest the Democrats’ massive social safety net bill. While it did not prevent the measure from passing the House, it did bring McCarthy handshakes, accolades, and perhaps most importantly for McCarthy, public compliments from Trump.

“Great work by Kevin McCarthy last night, setting a record by spending more than 8 hours speaking on the Floor to rightfully oppose Communism. We must never forget what the Democrats did. do, at its worst,” Trump said in a statement. “If Mitch McConnell had fought, you would have another Republican President by now.”

Difficulties in the McCarthy-Trump relationship

trumpet lived with McCarthy After the deadly uprising on January 6, when California Republicans criticized Trump’s behavior and even floated the idea of ​​criticizing the then President. But McCarthy, whom Trump once fondly referred to as “my Kevin,” has worked tirelessly since then to maintain his well-being, and the pair maintain a good working relationship as they strategize. behind the scenes to win back the House, according to many GOP lawmakers and aides familiar with their dynamics.

Trump recently mentioned a House GOP fundraiser where he had raves for McCarthy and even called him “the next speaker” at one point, according to lawmakers. attend. McCarthy also told reporters last week that Trump called him from the golf course last week just to strike up a conversation, emphasizing the simplicity and closeness of their relationship.

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“Caught up,” McCarthy said of their conversation. “Not even the (related) campaign. I have a lot of friends. I talk to a lot of people.”

However, the nimble ex-President can also be unpredictable and his opinions can turn out to be regrettable. Plus, the speaker’s election is over a year away – plenty of time for you to get on with Trump.

Rogers called Trump a “great, fickle leader,” but said he “had his ups and downs” when it came to relationships. Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina added: “The former President is his own adviser. He has his own opinion. He will speak his own opinion. Period.”

Some Republicans also took notice when Trump released a statement last month praising House Minority Roi Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who would have been a leading candidate for speaker position if McCarthy had not. 218, for pushing back a news story about former first lady Melania Trump. Some interpreted the statement from Trump as a message to McCarthy, who at the time was facing calls from the right to take a tougher stance on some issues, fight. stronger.

And there have been other bumps in the McCarthy-Trump relationship this year. Trump is not satisfied with CNN reports McCarthy and his leadership team is quietly working to raise funds for five of the 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 uprising.

“I’m going to see who he’s funding, and if he is, I’m going to stop the whole deal. I’m going to stop it,” Trump told a conservative radio program.

It’s unclear if Trump is actually entering the race of a speaker or endorsing a candidate. Some thought he would only wade in if McCarthy ducked for some reason. But others don’t think Trump would waste the opportunity to get directly involved in the action.

“I think he’s going to get involved in anything that he can relate to,” DesJarlais said.


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