After earlier appearing to back away from Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker of the House, Donald Trump was taking credit Saturday for the California Republican’s hard-fought victory.
Trump, who recently said, “let’s see what happens” as McCarthy lost vote after humiliating vote, took credit for “greatly help[ing] McCarthy attain the position of Speaker of the House.” Trump preened on Truth Social: “Thank you, I did the Country a big favor!”
He even claimed the “fake news” was “very gracious” in reporting his crucial help. He posted stories from Fox News, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post and far-right media noting that McCarthy thanked Trump for his support after finally pulling off a win late Friday following a record 15 votes.
Following a statement from McCarthy to “especially thank President Trump,” he posted a video of it and responded: “Thank you Kevin. It was my great honor!”
As recently as Tuesday, Trump appeared to let McCarthy twist in the wind after the lawmaker had lost three votes in the House to become speaker. Asked on NBC News if he would continue to support the Republican lawmaker, Trump vaguely responded: “Let’s see what happens.”
Trump added: “I got everybody calling me wanting my support. But let’s see what happens, and we’ll go — I got everybody calling, wanting my support. That’s all I can say. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see how it all works out.”
McCarthy later that day claimed Trump had “reiterated” his support.
“Trump has already reiterated his support; I talked to him tonight,” McCarthy insisted to reporters at the Capitol.
Trump had previously urged House Republicans to stand behind McCarthy or risk having a far worse speaker.
He apparently did work the phones to House members Friday night, urging them to support McCarthy in what may have been a critical boost.
Following McCarthy’s 14th failed vote Friday night, his allies moved to adjourn until Monday. But as the vote to adjourn was underway, McCarthy holdout Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) reportedly took a call from Trump encouraging him to clear a path for McCarthy. Trump also reportedly called Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), urging him to do the same.
That may have been a breakthrough. McCarthy’s allies learned that his opponents were then prepared to vote “present” instead of “no,” and quickly began switching their votes to keep the House in session.
McCarthy then won the 15th vote to become speaker of the House.