Former President Trump poured cold water on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid for the coveted Speaker of the House position when he clarified recently that he had endorsed McCarthy only for reelection, not the speaker position.
In an interview with conservative talk show host Wayne Allyn Root, Trump quelled rumors that, with his endorsement, he had thrown his weight behind McCarthy’s efforts to emerge House speaker, should Democrats emerge second best in the midterms.
“No, I haven’t,” Trump said, interjecting to correct Root after he said the former president had endorsed McCarthy for speaker. “No, no, no, I haven’t,” the former president insisted. “No, I endorsed him in his race. But I haven't endorsed anybody for speaker.”
The clarification will undoubtedly dash McCarthy’s hopes, which must have been at an all-time high just two weeks ago when Trump powered his reelection prospects with a resounding endorsement.
On June 4, Trump took to his far-right social media platform, Truth Social, to endorse McCarthy, calling the minority leader an “outstanding representative for the people of California” and a “tireless advocate for the people of Bakersfield and the Central Valley.”
“He is working incredibly hard to Stop Inflation, Deliver Water Solutions, and Hold Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi Accountable for their catastrophic failures and dereliction of duty,” Trump wrote of McCarthy on Truth Social.
Trump’s comments to clarify his position come just over a month after McCarthy, who stands as the favorite to wield the gavel in a GOP-controlled House, dared to question, however briefly, the former president’s supremacy earlier this year.
In stunning reporting in April, the New York Times revealed that McCarthy on a phone call told his colleagues on the Republican House leadership team — Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), and House GOP campaign chief Tom Emmer (R-MN) — that he’d “had it” with Trump and would call the White House and counsel then-lame duck President Trump to resign, several days after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
McCarthy denied the reports, prompting the Times reporters who broke the story to release audio tapes of the call to confirm their story. However, despite several GOP lawmakers questioning McCarthy’s suitability to wield the gavel come November, the minority leader’s debacle didn’t cost him Trump’s support.
“He made a call. I heard the call. I didn’t like the call,” said Trump. “But almost immediately as you know, because he came here and we took a picture right there—you know, the support was very strong,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal just hours after the Times bombshell report, apparently pleased with his continued hold over the GOP.
“I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,” Trump said, referring to McCarthy and other Republicans who criticized him for inciting the January 6 insurrection and later backtracked, saying they would still back him. “They realized they were wrong and supported me.”
To please the former president and keep the support of GOP voters still loyal to him, McCarthy, who received the coveted endorsement days before the January 6 televised hearings began, has been an indefatigable critic of the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol attack. He has repeatedly branded the bipartisan House panel a partisan sham and promised to disband it if he becomes House Speaker.
Trump, who has long since teased a possible 2024 White House bid, wouldn’t confirm reports he intended to run again, but he told Root that he was confident he’d “beat Biden” if the president ran again.