“I do not criticize him on television because I don’t think it’s right, and I know it drives him crazy,” McCarthy said in an interview with New York Times reporter Aaron Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Summit, according to The Hill.
McCarthy noted his “interesting relationship” with Trump, saying the two “have very clear personal conversations on where we go.”
McCarthy was the subject of mockery this week for having allegedly hightailed it to Mar-a-Lago weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, over worries that Trump wasn’t eating and was “really depressed,” according to an upcoming book by former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
The former speaker’s fragile fealty to the criminally indicted ex-president was again on display at the DealBook event.
McCarthy expressed confidence that Trump would beat President Joe Biden in their anticipated rematch next year. But he added of Trump (per Deadline): “I didn’t say he would be a great president. I said he’d be a better president than what we’re having. I said the country would be in a better place.”
McCarthy strongly suggested that Trump emphasize optimism over vengeance in his 2024 campaign.
“If his campaign is about ‘renew, rebuild and restore,’ he’ll win. If it’s about revenge, he’ll lose,” McCarthy said, according to media reports. “The only person that’s going to determine that is — not his campaign ad — is him.”
McCarthy also recommended former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, currently a Republican candidate for president, as Trump’s running mate.