- Former President Trump said the “fake news media” was very gracious in crediting him for McCarthy’s election as speaker
- Trump called Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who torpedoed McCarthy’s chances of becoming Speaker in 14th round
- McCarthy thanked Trump, saying the former president was with him “from the beginning”
Former President Donald Trump is claiming credit for the election of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as the new speaker of the House of Representatives after 15 tumultuous rounds of voting.
In his Truth Social platform, Trump said he “did our country a big favor” after he urged House Republicans to vote for McCarthy.
“The Fake News Media was, believe it or not, very gracious in their reporting that I greatly helped Kevin McCarthy attain the position of Speaker of the House,” Trump wrote. “Thank you, I did our Country (sic) a big favor!”
Trump reportedly made potentially critical phone calls to anti-McCarthy holdouts on Friday night, following McCarthy’s loss in the 14th round of voting. At the time, he got 215 votes, one vote away from clinching the speakership.
The New York Times reported that the former president called staunch anti-McCarthy holdout Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who previously torpedoed McCarthy’s chances of winning the speakership.
Two anonymous people familiar with the matter told the New York Times that Trump’s call may have pushed Gaetz to continue with another round of voting.
Trump also called Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, another GOP lawmaker opposing McCarthy’s candidacy, according to CNN.
A widely-circulated picture also showed that Trump was in contact with Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The Georgia congresswoman was seen trying to give the phone to another anti-McCarthy holdout, Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale, to talk with the former president.
McCarthy thanked Trump for helping him secure the speakership, saying the former president was with him “from the beginning,” The Hill reported.
“I don’t think anybody should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning,” McCarthy told reporters.
In the early morning of Saturday, McCarthy finally won the speakership race after six of the holdouts voted “present,” which lowered the threshold needed to get a majority.
The recent race to become House speaker was the longest since the 1800s, despite McCarthy caving in to the demands of the GOP’s Freedom Caucus.
But McCarthy’s ability to govern as speaker would be immediately put to the test when the members of Congress put to the vote Monday the sweeping changes in House Rules.
Several GOP lawmakers have threatened not to support the Rules package, saying they wanted to know more about McCarthy’s deal with the far-right Republicans.
The proposed changes in House Rules include a provision allowing any House member to trigger a motion to vacate the position of speaker. It also had a provision intended to rein in federal spending, especially on defense, despite the raging war in Ukraine and China’s military aggression against Taiwan.