Allies and advisers to former President Donald Trump are expressing outrage after Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said he believes former President Trump can win the nomination in 2024 but doesn’t know if he is the “strongest” candidate.
“I’ve been fielding calls on this since it happened,” one ally of Trump said, referring to McCarthy’s comments. “People are not happy. What was he thinking?”
During a CNBC interview on Tuesday, Rep. McCarthy was pressed on Trump’s 2024 prospects and the multi-faceted legal issues facing the former president. “Can he win the election? Yeah, he can,” said McCarthy. “The question is he the strongest to win the election — I don’t know that answer.”
Speaker McCarthy also said he believed the former president could beat President Joe Biden. “Can Trump beat Biden? Yeah, he can beat Biden.”
Sources close to the former president helped secure the speakership for Representative McCarthy after urging House Republicans to vote for the embattled leader after McCarthy lost three straight speakership votes in January. The former president also made calls on behalf of McCarthy ahead of the vote. He finally secured the gavel on the 15th ballot and immediately thanked the former President for his support.
Some advisers to Trump have previously brushed off questions as to why Speaker McCarthy has not offered an endorsement of Trump in 2024 and instead dodged the question posed by reporters.
“He has a lot of people to navigate if he’s going to win the speakership,” said one adviser to CNN in December when McCarthy when avoiding answering if he would back Trump in his recently launched third bid for president.
McCarthy maintained Trump’s policies are good for the country
Speaker McCarthy also argued the former president’s policies were good for the country when asked if it was good for the party to have Trump as a nominee.
“Republicans get to select their nominee. I think if you want to go sheer policy to policy, it’s not good for Republicans; it’s good for America. Trump’s policies are better, straightforward than Biden policy,” said McCarthy.
On Tuesday, House Speaker McCarthy signaled doubts about whether former President Donald Trump could defeat President Joe Biden and return to the White House; however, they agreed that Trump’s policies are better.
At first, in an interview with the California Republican, when asked if the former president could defeat President Biden in the 2024 presidential election, the speaker said, “Yeah, he can beat Biden,” as his “policies are better, [more] straightforward than Biden’s policies.”
However, when asked if Trump could win, considering that he is facing two criminal indictments, McCarthy showed some doubts in his answer.
“Can he win that election? McCarthy said. “Yeah, he can. The question is, is he the strongest to win the election? I don’t know that answer.”
However, he said, “Can somebody — can anybody beat Biden? Yeah, anybody can beat Biden. Can Biden beat other people? Yes, Biden can beat them.”
Trump is facing a 37-count federal indictment over his handling of classified documents taken when he left the White House and separate charges filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in which he faces 34 felony counts related to the falsification of business records connected to his alleged role in the payment of hush money former stripper and porn actress Stormy Daniels at the end of his 2016 presidential campaign.
The speaker told reporters last week he backs a call from House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to “expunge” Trump’s two impeachments.
Speaker McCarthy said both impeachments had no due process and that he voted on both of them, along with a recent call to impeach Biden.
“What was raised this week was someone wanting to take impeachment of Biden to the floor, and I didn’t think that was right because there’s not due process, right? said McCarthy. “So, shouldn’t you be consistent, especially with the Constitution?”