Donald Trump has thrown his weight into the contentious battle over GOP leader Kevin McCarthy in his bid to be the next Speaker of the House, with the former president calling on his congressional supporters to stop their opposition tactics against McCarthy and stop “playing a very big and dangerous role.” Toy. ”
“Look, I think that’s it: Kevin worked hard. I think he deserves that shot,” Trump said Friday in an interview with Breitbart News. “I hope he’s very strong and he’s very good and he’s going to do what everyone wants from him. to do. »
The former president cited the story of 2015, when then-Speaker of the House John Boehner resigned after clashes with hard-line Republican conservatives, and was later replaced by Paul Ryan.
“It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things can happen. Look, we had Boehner and he was a monster, but we ended up with Paul Ryan who was 10 times worse,” Trump told Breitbart. Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he is considered the worst speaker in history. »
McCarthy is running for president with five hardline Republicans opposing him. With House Republicans holding 222 seats in the next Congress, such opposition would deny him the 218 votes he would need to be elected president.
McCarthy negotiated room rules behind closed doors that critics want speakers exempt from, including allowing an individual member to vote to impeach a speaker. It’s something the California Republican has so far resisted.
A brief spat between McCarthy and Trump erupted in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 uprising, with McCarthy even suggesting in a privately recorded phone call that Trump should step down. But the two soon made amends, with McCarthy flying in to meet Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida a few weeks later.
In his interview with Breitbart, Trump did not mention lawmakers who oppose McCarthy’s request to speak, but said he was “friendly” with many of his supporters.
“I’m friendly with a lot of these people against Kevin. I think almost every one of them is leaning very hard towards Trump and I’m with them. But I have to tell them, and I said to them, you’re playing a very dangerous game,” Trump said. “You could end up in a very bad situation. I use Paul Ryan’s Boehner example. Do you understand what I’m saying? It could be an awful scenario.”
McCarthy said on Friday that five regional counties — Representatives Matt Getz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Bob Goode of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana — had not budged in their opposition to him and issued dire warnings that the narrow majority could oust him. House Republicans are veering off course if they are not determined to.
“We’re still talking, but they haven’t moved,” McCarthy told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, on the air to say critics threaten to jeopardize the House GOP agenda and key decisions on legislation and the investigation will be all that matter. in danger. »
McCarthy’s comments mark a sharp escalation in his campaign of public pressure on critics, including Biggs, who announced his own spin-off of Hammer Rays last week.
And Trump isn’t the only person pointing to House Republicans to get in order. Conservative leanings, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial staff, those seeking McCarthy’s ouster “seem to have no constructive reason to oppose McCarthy other than wanting media attention or blowing the whole thing up,” he wrote on Saturday.
Dipping into the “dysfunction of the GOP since Election Day,” the editorial said, “Republicans are a mob that can’t shoot head-on, only at each other.”