Former President Donald Trump appeared to flip on Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during an interview Tuesday night when asked about whether or not he still supports McCarthy’s bid for House Speaker.
Trump previously endorsed McCarthy and had even referred to him as “My Kevin,” but that was before a small group of Republicans denied McCarthy’s bid to be House Speaker Tuesday afternoon.
NBC News Senior Capitol Hill Correspondent Garrett Haake tweeted: “Former President Trump declined to say if he’s sticking by his endorsement of Kevin McCarthy for speaker tonight, telling me in a brief phone interview he’s had calls all day asking for support, and ‘We’ll see what happens. We’ll see how it all works out.’”
“When I asked directly if he was sticking by McCarthy, who did not clinch the gavel today after three floor votes, Mr. Trump told me ‘we’ll see what happens,’ and ended our conversation,” Haake added.
When I asked directly if he was sticking by McCarthy, who did not clinch the gavel today after three floor votes, Mr. Trump told me "we'll see what happens," and ended our conversation.
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) January 3, 2023
During the first round of voting, McCarthy secured 203 votes, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) received 212 votes, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) received 10 votes, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) received six votes, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) received one vote, former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) received one vote, and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) received one vote.
The Republicans who blocked McCarthy’s bid during the first round included Reps. Dan Bishop (NC), Lauren Boebert (CO), Josh Brecheen (OK), Mike Cloud (TX), Andrew Clyde (GA), Eli Crane (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Bob Good (VA), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Anna Paulina Luna (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), Andy Ogles (TN), Scott Perry (PA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Chip Roy (TX), Keith Self (TX), and Andy Biggs (AZ).
Trump previously warned against House Republicans playing games with the Speaker race.
“I like him,” Trump said of McCarthy back in December. “I think it’s a very dangerous game that’s being played. It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things could happen. Look, we had Boehner and he was a strange person but we ended up with Paul Ryan who was ten times worse. Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he goes down as the worst speaker in history. We took [out] Boehner—and a group of people, some of whom are the same, and they’re very good friends of mine. All those people are very good friends of mine.”
“Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard,” Trump continued. “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.”