This week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was forced to walk back comments questioning the strength of former president Trump after facing a MAGA backlash. Time and time again, McCarthy has bent over backwards to appease Trump and MAGA extremists no matter the degradation. And just days ago, McCarthy announced he would pursue impeachment for Attorney General Merrick Garland if Republicans don’t get the answers they want about the Hunter Biden deal from the Trump-picked US attorney investigating him. This humiliating little incident just goes to show the lengths McCarthy will go just to lift up Trump and MAGA Republicans including their outrageous and politically motivated oversight of President Biden and his Administration.
CNN: Trump Allies Outraged After McCarthy Says ‘I Don’t Know’ If Trump Is Strongest 2024 Candidate. “Advisers and allies to former President Donald Trump are expressing outrage after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he thinks Trump can win in 2024, but does not know if he is the ‘strongest’ candidate. ‘I’ve been fielding calls on this since it happened,’ one Trump ally told CNN, referring to McCarthy’s comments. ‘People are not happy. What was he thinking?’ […] Sources close to Trump believe the former president helped secure the speakership for McCarthy after urging House Republicans to vote for the embattled leader after McCarthy lost three straight speakership votes in January. Trump also made calls on McCarthy’s behalf ahead of the vote. McCarthy finally secured the gavel on the 15th ballot and immediately thanked the former President for his support. Some advisers to the former President have in the past brushed off questions as to why McCarthy has not offered an endorsement of Trump in 2024, and instead dodged the question when posed by reporters. ‘He has a lot of people to navigate if he he’s [sic] going to win the speakership,’ one adviser told CNN in December when McCarthy avoided answering whether he would back Trump in his recently launched third bid for president.” [CNN, 6/27/23]
The New York Times: McCarthy Questions Strength of Trump’s Candidacy, Then Quickly Backtracks. “The immediate damage control reflected how dependent Mr. McCarthy remained on Mr. Trump as he faced criticism from his right flank, and how his alliance with the conservative media ecosystem has helped to insulate him. In the past, Breitbart has helped wage public campaigns against mainstream Republican leaders, including Mr. McCarthy’s predecessors John A. Boehner and Paul D. Ryan, who refused to bend to the will of the party’s hard right. But Mr. McCarthy has cultivated a relationship with the website. Its story on Tuesday highlighted Mr. McCarthy’s full-throated defense of Mr. Trump and accused mainstream media of taking his comments out of context. Mr. McCarthy has not officially endorsed Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and has been advised by people like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a frequent outside adviser, not to do so. Still, his speakership at critical inflection points has depended on the support of Mr. Trump, who could easily exacerbate tensions between Mr. McCarthy and hard-right lawmakers by encouraging them to defy his leadership. Mr. McCarthy has been careful to show no daylight between him and the former president. In trying to keep his fragile majority together, Mr. McCarthy has at key moments allowed the House to become Mr. Trump’s instrument of revenge and retaliation.” [The New York Times, 6/27/23]
Politico: Trump World Fumes Over McCarthy’s 2024 Slight. “Former President Donald Trump has catapulted the careers of many a Republican over the past eight years. None have benefited more than Kevin McCarthy. In every conceivable way, the House speaker owes his gavel to Trump. […] Top aides to the former president and allies who know both men quickly traded messages asking, in short: What the fuck? Some called McCarthy a ‘moron.’ Others looked to Trump campaign hand Brian Jack, who also advises the speaker and has been a critical bridge between both men, to play mediator as Trump hit the trail in New Hampshire. McCarthy immediately pivoted into clean-up mode. He called Trump to apologize, according to the New York Times. He offered Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle an exclusive interview, during which he walked 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 assuaged the fury in Trump’s inner circle, people familiar with the matter told POLITICO. McCarthy, they feel, has taken advantage of the former president when it benefits him and failed to show unflinching loyalty in return. They don’t understand how he could ‘misspeak’ — as McCarthy, we’re told, put it to Trump — on something so critical.” [Politico, 6/28/23]
Rolling Stone: Trumpworld Rages at McCarthy: ‘Kevin’s in Trouble Now’. “As the clip of McCarthy’s interview circulated on social media, aides and other sources close to the former president were enraged. Shortly after the CNBC interview aired, Rolling Stone began receiving several unsolicited messages from different Trump associates and advisers trashing McCarthy — including for being allegedly ungrateful for the public support and private lobbying that Trump lent him during his protracted battle to secure the speakership. ‘Kevin’s in trouble now!’ one Trump adviser writes. Spokespeople for Trump and McCarthy did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment on Tuesday afternoon. But McCarthy quickly walked back his comments, telling Breitbart Tuesday that ‘the media is attempting to drive a wedge between President Trump and House Republicans’ because ‘he is Biden’s strongest political opponent, as polling continues to show.’ Sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone that multiple people close to Trump quickly moved to make him aware of McCarthy’s comments and encouraged him to give the House speaker a call. Another Trump adviser says McCarthy’s team was passive-aggressively sent new public polling showing Trump out-performing President Biden.” [Rolling Stone, 6/27/23]
Washington Examiner: How Donald Trump Could Hold Kevin McCarthy’s Fate In His Hands. “House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) owes a lot to former President Donald Trump for his leadership position and growing influence over different corners of the Republican Party. Trump helped McCarthy secure the speakership earlier this year when the former president convinced key GOP holdouts to support the California Republican after 15 rounds of voting. The former president has also supported McCarthy as he navigates his new role as House leader to keep the GOP in line. However, that relationship may be strained after McCarthy suggested earlier this week that Trump may not be the ‘strongest candidate’ to take on President Joe Biden in 2024, angering the former president and his close allies. […] The House speaker went into damage-control mode almost immediately, calling Trump to apologize and speaking with Breitbart to walk back his comments and offer a stronger assessment of the former president. ‘Trump is stronger today than he was in 2016,’ he said. Instead, McCarthy sought to blame the media for taking his comments out of context.” [Washington Examiner, 6/28/23]
MSNBC (Opinion): Kevin McCarthy Scrambles After Accidentally Speaking His Mind. “Evidently, as the speaker described it, journalists were ‘attempting to drive a wedge between President Trump and House Republicans’ by quoting what McCarthy had said hours earlier to a national television audience. The nerve of some people. What’s more, according to the Times’ report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, McCarthy also called Trump yesterday, and ‘people familiar with the exchange … characterized the conversation as an apology.’ This won’t do much to change the House speaker’s reputation for weakness. But the developments also served as a timely reminder: The problem is not that McCarthy is incapable of occasional displays of courage; the problem is that McCarthy appears incapable of following through on these displays. The GOP leader will occasionally speak his mind, and tell the public what he’s actually thinking, but one of the tragic things about McCarthy’s career is that he invariably has to abandon these truths soon after he accidentally blurts them out.” [MSNBC, 6/28/23]
The Hill: McCarthy Feels The Heat As Frustrated Conservatives Grow More Aggressive. “Six months into the new Congress, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is increasingly bending to the demands of the conservative fringe of his GOP conference, a dynamic highlighted this week by his surprise threat to impeach U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The Speaker has, to an extent, been successful in disarming his conservative detractors through the first half of the year, winning their support in January’s race for the gavel and sidelining them more recently in adopting must-pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling. But frustrated conservatives are getting more aggressive, threatening to tank federal funding bills and risk a government shutdown while pushing harder to force the impeachment votes GOP leaders have sought to avoid. The dynamics reflect the bald political reality of governing with a tiny and restive House majority, one in which the conservative distrust of the Speaker runs deep and GOP leaders have little room for defections when their legislative priorities come to the floor. The result has been that McCarthy is compelled, more and more, to act on the demands of the small but pugnacious group of conservative firebrands who have threatened his Speakership from the first days of January and are vowing to exert their leverage to obtain their legislative objectives.” [The Hill, 6/28/23]