Donald Trump has now publicly endorsed Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the House Minority Leader’s bid for re-election. The move comes just days ahead of California’s June 7th primary – and less than two weeks after McCarthy was booed during his speech at Trump’s May 28th Wyoming rally.
In a statement released on his fledging social media site, Truth Social, the twice-impeached former president called McCarthy a “tireless advocate” and “fearless leader.”
However, with the January 6th Committee’s televised hearings set to begin this week, Trump’s endorsement may be more about self-preservation than sincerity. According to CNN, McCarthy – along with House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) – will be spearheading a coordinated Republican defensive to try to counter the House Select Committee’s prime-time revelations.
Trump’s support may come as a shock to some after McCarthy is reported to have criticized Trump in the days following the January 6th insurrection. New York Times reporters, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns detail the call in their book, This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future. The call contradicted McCarthy’s public words of support for Donald Trump, and his denial that the MAGA king is responsible for the events leading up to, and during, the violent Capitol riot.
On a conference call, McCarthy told fellow Republicans:
“But let me be very clear to you and I have been very clear to the President. he bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if, and, or buts.”
The Times also released clips from a leaked recording between McCarthy and Trump adversary Liz Cheney (R-WY). In it, McCarthy tells the ousted former House GOP Conference Chair that he was going to suggest to the then-still President that he resign.
Trump was surprisingly reserved after the leak. He refrained from throwing the usual temper tantrum and from launching a full-scale meltdown, something that the public has come to expect when the former guy feels he hasn’t been given the fealty he undeservedly feels he’s entitled to.
But Trump’s endorsement may not be enough. As we’ve seen with Georgia — and with Dr. Mehmet Oz’s narrow win in Pennsylvania — not everyone is enthusiastic about Trump’s political choices. Axios reported that an anonymous tweeter said “The people that supported Mr. Trump do not support McCarthy” in response to his endorsement of the inconsistent minority leader.
Even if he manages to win the primary tomorrow, Kevin McCarthy shouldn’t expect to be reaching for that Speaker of the House gavel anytime soon. He has a long battle to fight before he comes anywhere close to that.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchickonald