[guest post by Dana]
After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested on national television last month that Donald Trump may not be the GOP’s best presidential nominee in 2024, the former president was furious — and wanted the California Republican to rectify the slight immediately.
“He needs to endorse me — today!” Trump fumed to his staff on his way to a campaign event in New Hampshire, according to people familiar with what happened. McCarthy, after all, had indicated to Trump’s team that he would do so eventually. Why not clean up the mess and announce his support now?
But the House GOP leader — who has felt compelled to stay neutral during the primary so as to not box in his own members — wasn’t ready to do that. To calm Trump, McCarthy made him a promise, according to a source close to Trump and familiar with the conversation: The House would vote to expunge the two impeachments against the former president. And — as McCarthy would communicate through aides later that same day — they would do so before August recess.
According to an aide, McCarthy disagrees that he said that, but says that he “merely indicated that he would discuss the matter with his members.”
While the claims made above come from unnamed sources, it’s not a stretch (at all) to imagine that this is precisely what happened. After all, when you look at the Trump-McCarthy relationship, especially during the House vote for Speaker, there is every chance that McCarthy would not be in the position he is currently in if not for Trump calling members and persuading them to vote for McCarthy. And we know that Trump doesn’t do anything out of the goodness of his heart. Whether now or later, you will have to pay him back. Now, with McCarthy declining to endorse Trump, the frustrated former president sees the bill as due:
We’re told that Trump brings up the matter in every call he has with McCarthy, prodding the speaker about when he will bring expungement to the floor. McCarthy, however, has already pushed back the timeline. Perhaps realizing how tough such a vote will be, he recently told Trump’s team that the House will vote by the end of September…Trump’s inner circle, frustrated with McCarthy, is boiling. The former president and his team think the speaker should have endorsed him months ago…McCarthy told the Trump team that he can’t back Trump, because he wants to look neutral while the House clears his name on impeachment.
At the very least this will be a contentious matter if it comes up for a vote. McCarthy, who is not seen as a unifying or formidable leader, may not have a choice other than to
placate submit to Trump’s demands. How a vote would go, however, is up in the air: two members voted to impeach, so count them out. Moderates are trying to “look ahead” and the few remaining “Constitutional conservatives” are reportedly questioning whether the House has the authority to hold such a vote. No matter how you look at it, it remains clear that Trump continues to be a self-serving, narcissistic and divisive figure who still maintains a stranglehold on the Republican Party.