How is Trump trying to influence the Republicans and their election of the Speaker of the House?
As Rep. Kevin McCarthy endured a series of defeats in chamber votes, the former President was attempting to rally support both publically and in private.
The Republican House leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, continues to struggle in his attempt to secure the votes needed to win the position of Speaker. After four days and thirteen ballots, McCarthy has failed to reach the 218 votes needed to claim a majority and faces outward rebellion from within his own party.
McCarthy’s struggles come despite having secured the important endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who still holds considerable sway in the party. After the first day of unsuccessful ballots, Trump took to the TruthSocial social media platform to urge Republicans in Congress to vote for McCarthy.
“Some really good conversations took place last night, and it’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY,” Trump wrote.
“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT.”
In addition to his public backing, Reuters report that Trump has instructed allies to privately contact the offices of a number of the House Republicans who have opposed McCarthy so far. But even this attempt to build support for McCarthy appears to have been unsuccessful and the GOP leader has actually lost votes since the election process start on Tuesday.
Freedom Caucus splits from Trump
Of the 20 GOP members who have voted for McCarthy’s opponents, 19 of them are members of or are closely aligned to the Freedom Caucus. Founded in 2015, the Freedom Caucus is a group of conservative Republicans who have been vehement supporters of Trump and his MAGA Republicanism.
That this group of hard-line right wing members are not following Trump’s clear instructions is notable, and may signify a shifting of the power base away from the former President.
Republican strategist Sarah Longwell, who has publically opposed Trump, said that the past few days have shown that “Trump can’t just snap his fingers and get members to do what he wants.”
“That’s because Trump’s relationship with the party is increasingly becoming less about Trump the man, and more about the forces Trump has unleashed on the party.”
This change can be seen in the speech given by Trump acolyte Rep. Lauren Boebert in the House on Wednesday. She accused McCarthy of “having my favorite president call us and tell us we need to knock this off”.
But she responded with a direct message to Trump: “The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy that, sir, you do not have the votes, and it’s time to withdraw.”
As it stands McCarthy has given no indication that he is willing to stand aside and miss out on the top job in the House. But if he is unable to start turning the dial in his favour another challenger may soon emerge to court the votes of the Freedom Caucus holdouts.
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?