Trump’s plea for GOP to back McCarthy for speaker fails to change one vote
There is one unmistakable takeaway from Kevin McCarthy losing his fourth and fifth and sixth straight votes for speaker yesterday:
Donald Trump couldn’t help him one bit. The former president may be the most powerful voice in the GOP. He called on Truth Social to urge House Republicans to vote for Kevin McCarthy, close the deal, take the victory…DO NOT TURN a great triumph into a GIANT & embarrassing defeat…Kevin McCarthy will do a great job, and maybe even a GREAT job – JUST VIEW!
The result: 20 Republican rebels voted against McCarthy yesterday, the same number that kept the long-sought gavel out of his hands on Tuesday’s third ballot. Trump was unable to convince any member to switch.
Kevin McCarthy, a California Rep., gives a TV interview
This is not just idle speculation. Trump was a key figure in McCarthy’s bid to be the speakership. When McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago for a fence-mending visit after Jan. 6, it was to get Trump’s support for the job he has wanted for years.
Most of those blocking McCarthy’s ascent backed Trump’s unproven claims of a stolen election, or said during the campaign that they would have. Still, they may view this as an internal matter – it’s certainly personal against McCarthy – and therefore resistant to pressure even from the ex-POTUS.
Rep. Lauren Boebert ,, a leader among the dissidents, called Trump his “favorite president” but also suggested that he should tell McCarthy not to return.
I honestly think that most Americans are in the wake-me-when-it’s-over camp. That’s because the House – whose members are not sworn in and can’t do anything during this impasse – is not debating some grand issue that touches people’s lives. It’s not about who gets to hold the power.
If you enjoy parliamentary maneuvering, and far-fetched scenarios you might have had a great time. There was media chatter that the Democrats might bail out the GOP by backing a consensus candidate. This idea was quickly dismissed by the Dems.
The contrast with President Biden, meanwhile, could not be greater. Although the event was planned ahead of time, Biden and McConnell met yesterday in Kentucky to celebrate the repair of the crumbling bridge under the bipartisan legislation. Other top Republicans and Democrats were also invited. Biden and McConnell, who the rebels view as a swamp creature, get along.
Mitch McConnell asked Senator John Cornyn to meet with him about gun legislation. He said he was “hopeful” that something would result.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Asked about the Republican paralysis before he left Washington, the president said “that’s not my problem,” adding: “I just think it’s a little embarrassing that it’s taking so long.”
Later, he stated that this was “not an ideal look” for the United States and that he hoped they would get their act together. “
The rebels have displayed discipline. McCarthy’s vote slide has meant that Hakeem Jeffries (House Democratic leader) is getting more votes than McCarthy. The dissidents decided to spotlight Byron Donalds, an African-American congressman from Florida.
The 20 who had previously backed Jim Jordan – who’s supporting McCarthy- promptly switched their votes to Donalds.
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 03: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on January 03, 2023, in Washington, DC. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA) was unable to gain the support necessary to rise to House Speaker in less than five hours.
(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
If the Republicans have this much trouble coalescing around a speaker, what will they do when they’re facing a possible default or other crisis legislation? They needed just five votes to either checkmate McCarthy or remove him from the post if he was elected speaker. These five, or any five with grievances, can block action against the overwhelming majority of the party.
In a worrying sign for the pro–Kevin forces. Rep. Victoria Spartz changed to “present” on fifth ballot and stated to CNN that she will not vote again for McCarthy.
This has been shaping up to be a contest of embarrassment. Which side would blink first? Let me ask you this media question.
The cable news networks have provided near-constant coverage of the speakership battle. Yesterday, the predictable numbers were still not changing, so anchors and reporters began to discuss the proceedings.
If this gets to a 15th or 25th ballot, and the proceedings are no longer covered live or reduced to a small box at the bottom of the screen, does that help or hurt Kevin McCarthy’s bid?
Howard Kurtz is the host of FOX News Channel’s MediaBuzz (Sundays 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET). Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in July 2013 and regularly appears on Special Report with Bret Baier and other programs.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.