“Can he win that election? Yes, he can win that election,” McCarthy said, referring to a Biden-Trump meeting. “The question is, ‘Is he the strongest to win the election?’ I don’t know this answer.
Trump’s world has gone nuts. The former president’s top aides and allies who know both men quickly messaged each other asking, in brief: What the fuck?
Some have called McCarthy a « moron ». Others looked to the hand of Trump campaign Brian Jack, who also advises the speaker and was a vital bridge between the two men, to mediate as Trump set off in New Hampshire.
McCarthy immediately went into cleanup mode. He called Trump to apologize, according to the New York Times. He offered Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle an exclusive interviewduring which he took the comments back and accused the media of taking them out of context.
“Trump is stronger today than he was in 2016,” McCarthy told Boyle.
None of these moves have assuaged the fury in Trump’s inner circle, people familiar with the matter told POLITICO. McCarthy, according to them, took advantage of the former president when he took advantage of it and failed to show unwavering loyalty in return. They don’t understand how he could have « bad mouthed » — as McCarthy, we’re told, said to Trump — about something so critical.
In fact, McCarthy’s damage control made matters worse. The speaker’s campaign allies have drifted apart fundraising emails AND texts stating, « Trump is Biden’s STRONGEST opponent! » – then asking for money.
Fundraising in Trump’s name without permission is a huge no-no for the former president. The Him team requires explicit approval for any campaign using his name and likeness. Trump’s team asked McCarthy last night to shut down the fundraising camp.
This isn’t the first time McCarthy has clashed with Trump. After the January 6 riot, McCarthy floated the idea of censuring Trump for his actions and was later captured on tape discussing the idea of asking Trump to step down. Yet the two continued their symbiotic bond: McCarthy quickly assumed a key role in restoring Trump’s prominence to the GOP, and Trump remained in McCarthy’s corner as he fought for the gavel.
But Tuesday’s drama came at a sensitive time, with one important question already bouncing around Trump’s world: Why didn’t McCarthy endorse Trump?
While it’s unclear whether Trump explicitly asked McCarthy for his support, his silence on the matter has baffled the former president and his close allies.
McCarthy has told some Trump supporters he’s holding back because an endorsement « could hurt » Trump by tying him to the party establishment, according to a GOP campaign adviser who asked not to be named. He also suggested that, as the highest-ranking Republican in office, just two beats from the heart of the presidency, he perhaps he should remain neutral.
But Trump’s allies aren’t buying it. The former president, it is thought, will never allow McCarthy to sit on the sidelines in a bad GOP primary and expects his full support, something many of them think he will eventually get – and perhaps, now, sooner rather than later. After.
“At what point is it okay for Kevin McCarthy not to support Trump?” the consultant asked. « Donald Trump has been very good to Kevin McCarthy. »
The brouhaha also raised questions about how long Trump or McCarthy will support.
Many of the former president’s strongest allies in Congress have been piling up their grievances against McCarthy, waiting for the right time to make a move. Many would be more than happy to force a vote to oust the speaker if Trump wanted to — and Trump knows it.
“If Donald Trump wanted…he could have him as a speaker by the end of the week,” the consultant said.