Donald Trump has weighed in on the contentious battle facing GOP leader Kevin McCarthy in his bid to be the chamber’s next speaker, with the former president calling on his supporters in Congress to halt their opposition tactics against McCarthy and stop “playing a very dangerous game. ”
“Look, I think this: Kevin worked really hard. I think he deserves the shot,” Trump said in an interview with Breitbart News on Friday. “Hopefully he will be very strong and very good and he will do what everyone wants.”
The former president cited the 2015 scenario when then-Speaker of the House John Boehner resigned after clashes with conservative GOP hardliners and was subsequently replaced by Paul Ryan.
“It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things can happen. Look, we had Boehner and he was a strange person, but we ended up with Paul Ryan who was ten times worse,” Trump told Breitbart. “Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he will go down as the worst speaker in history.”
McCarthy is vying for the speakership with five hardline Republicans against him. With 222 House Republican seats in the next Congress, such opposition would deny him the 218 votes he would need to be elected speaker.
McCarthy has negotiated chamber rules behind closed doors that his opponents want to weaken speakership, including allowing an individual member to vote to oust the speaker. That’s something the California Republican has resisted so far.
McCarthy and Trump briefly feuded after the January 6, 2021 riot, with McCarthy even suggesting that Trump should resign in a recorded private phone call. But the two quickly made amends when McCarthy traveled just a few weeks later to meet Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
In his interview with Breitbart, Trump did not name lawmakers opposed to McCarthy’s bid to speak, but said he is “friends” of many of them and that they are his supporters.
“I am friends with a lot of those people who are against Kevin. I think almost everyone is very inclined towards Trump, and I towards them. But I have to tell them, and I have told them, you are playing a very dangerous game,” Trump said. “You could end up with some very bad situations. I’ll use the example from Boehner to Paul Ryan. You understand what I’m saying? It could be a doomsday scenario.”
McCarthy said Friday that the five conservative holdouts — Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana — have not budged in their opposition to him and issued dire warnings that The hard-fought narrow majority of Republicans in the House could go off the rails if they don’t bow.
“We keep talking, but they haven’t moved,” McCarthy told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. investigation will be “everything at risk”.
McCarthy’s comments represent a sharp escalation in his public pressure campaign against critics, including Biggs, who last week announced his own bid for the gavel.
And Trump is not alone in signaling House Republicans to put their house in order. The conservative editors of The Wall Street Journal wrote on Saturday that those who want to bring down McCarthy “seem to have no constructive reason to oppose Mr. McCarthy, other than a desire to spotlight the media or blow everything up. ”
Delving into “GOP dysfunction since Election Day,” the editorial said, “Republicans are the gang that couldn’t shoot straight — except at each other.”