Donald Trump, the former president, urged all Republicans to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for Speaker of the House.
In three different votes during the inaugural session of the new Congress on Tuesday, the legislator fell short of the 218 votes required to take the gavel. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) became the target of Republican defectors as a prospective replacement, while Democrats backed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
McCarthy had previously received Trump’s support as the House Republicans’ leader. The former president was ambiguous in an interview with NBC News correspondent Garrett Haake on Tuesday. “We’ll see what transpires,” he remarked. “We’ll see how everything turns out,”
Trump, though, appeared to suggest that he spoke to holdouts on Tuesday evening when he shared another endorsement of McCarthy on Truth Social on Wednesday morning.
“It’s time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY & WATCH CRAZY NANCY,” he wrote in a post. “Some really nice conversations took place last night. The only speaker in American history to have lost the “house” twice is Pelosi, who returns home to a California that is completely broken.”
When her next two-year term ends, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the senior Democrat in the chamber for two decades, will not run for re-election. She held the gavel under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama from 2007 to 2011, and she reclaimed it in 2019 after Dems. regained control of the chamber under President Trump.
“REPUBLICANS, DON’T MAKE A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIGANTIC AND EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. You ought to celebrate now,” Trump continued in his remarks. “Just watch! Kevin McCarthy will perform an excellent job, maybe even a GREAT JOB.”
Following a disappointing showing in the most recent midterm elections, which also resulted in Democrats preserving control of the Senate, Republicans currently hold a razor-thin majority in the House. A few House Republicans immediately urged McCarthy, who declared his candidacy for the gavel the day after the midterm elections, to introduce only single-issue measures and make significant efforts to reduce federal spending.
With his pledge to be a “listener just as much as a Speaker, working to develop consensus from the bottom-up instead of dominating the agenda from the top-down,” McCarthy seems to have expected opposition from conservatives. Republican leaders must abstain from participating in primary elections, make sure that more members who lean right are represented on significant committees, and place a priority on holding “weaponized” agencies accountable, among other demands made by conservative holdouts.