- Former President Trump has claimed credit for helping Kevin McCarthy win the Speakership of the House of Representatives.
- However, several ardent conservatives told ABC that Trump had no real influence during the process.
- “President Trump had no say in the voting, neither I nor any of my colleagues,” said Rep. Bob Good.
Former President Donald Trump enjoys playing the role of political kingmaker, having shaped the Republican nominee field in countless races across the country for much of the past decade.
During Trump’s tenure in the White House and even after he left office, his support was heavily sought after by conservatives. And the former president maintained ties to some of his most ardent Republican supporters who are still in Congress.
So there was little surprise among politicians when Trump said his influence had strengthened the candidacy of California Rep. Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House, who went through 15 rounds of voting before winning the long-sought position.
McCarthy’s candidacy had strong support in the GOP from the start, but a band of about 20 Conservatives — including Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana — weren’t keen on speaking from the California legislature.
However, Trump backed McCarthy’s bid and claimed credit for helping get the GOP leader across the finish line. In the end, he was put on the speaker’s chair with almost 216 votes to 212.
But many of the Conservatives who opposed McCarthy insist the former president had little influence on their decision to support the Californian or vote “present,” allowing for an easier victory threshold than the 218 votes normally required to secure the speaker’s gavel, according to ABC News.
“President Trump had no influence on the voting, neither I nor any of my colleagues,” Good told the news agency when asked about the former president’s influence on the House of Representatives Republican Conference.
“It became clear on Saturday morning that it was inevitable that Mr. McCarthy would become a spokesperson and I saw no reason to extend that beyond the weekend,” he added.
However, McCarthy personally thanked Trump immediately after winning the speakership, stating that no one “should doubt his influence.”
Most notably, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was pictured during the speakership battle, keeping her phone on the line with Trump as she approached Rosendale, a staunch anti-McCarthy Conservative, to try and persuade him to do so bring to speak with the former President. He finally voted “present” in the final vote.
Rosendale told ABC News that Trump didn’t take his reasoning on the matter into account.
“My decision was based on Montana voters and support for the constitution … I have met and listened to my constituents, and my efforts have always been focused on making sure we have a much more open process,” he said.
South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, who switched to McCarthy in the last four votes, also told ABC News that Trump had “nothing” to do with his switch to helping the California legislature.
“Actually, I didn’t approve of him interfering. This is a House of Representatives event. We choose the speaker,” he said.
However, Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, who joined McCarthy, told the news outlet that Trump “certainly had an impact on the process,” and called the end result of the process a “win-win for our country and our leadership.”