Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued a second endorsement of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for House speaker.
The endorsement comes after Trump appeared non-committal Tuesday evening about McCarthy’s speakership prospects. The House failed to select a speaker during three rounds of voting Tuesday afternoon. Continued voting is expected Wednesday.
NBC News reported McCarthy and Trump briefly spoke on the phone Tuesday evening. Early Wednesday morning, Trump issued a statement in support of McCarthy.
“Some really good conversations took place last night,” Trump said, “and it’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY, & WATCH CRAZY NANCY PELOSI FLY BACK HOME TO A VERY BROKEN CALIFORNIA,THE ONLY SPEAKER IN U.S. HISTORY TO HAVE LOST THE “HOUSE” TWICE!”
Trump warned not electing McCarthy as speaker would ruin the Republicans’ success in the midterm elections.
“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT,” he said. “Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!”
In-mid December, Trump told Breitbart News he supported McCarthy’s bid for speaker, citing Kevin’s work ethic.
Nineteen House Republicans voted on Tuesday for someone other than Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to be the next speaker of the House. https://t.co/N6ToeizzbS
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 3, 2023
“Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard,” Trump explained. “He is just—it’s been exhausting. If you think, he’s been all over. I think he deserves the shot. Hopefully he’s going to be very strong and going to be very good and he’s going to do what everybody wants.”
Voting is set to resume on the House floor at noon Wednesday. The House will keep voting until a member-elect receives enough votes to meet the threshold. Breitbart News’s Matt Boyle reported the specifics:
Any absences or “present” votes lower the threshold by a half vote below what full House attendance–435 members–would require to achieve such a majority, which is 218 votes. Since one Democrat died in late November, the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), the number is already down to at most 434 members for full attendance–and could drop lower if more Democrats do not show up or vote present. If all the other Democrats show up, it would still require 218 votes to elect a speaker–and Democrats have said they will be at full attendance.
While McCarthy’s team is confident he will get there, it is possible he might not. If he does not get a majority on the first ballot, Congress will be paralyzed until a speaker is elected. The last time a speakership election went more than one ballot was a century ago, and back in the mid-1800s one speakership election went more than a hundred ballots and took months. One of McCarthy’s top critics, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has said it might not be until the cherry blossoms bloom in the mid- to late spring at the end of March or beginning of April that a speaker is elected. While that would be a far-fetched scenario, chaos is certainly a possibility–or everything could go very smoothly for McCarthy. What happens on Tuesday remains to be seen.
14 votes for House Speaker have gone past the first ballot — none in 100 years: pic.twitter.com/qnglM8V0e0
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) January 3, 2023