As the Kevin McCarthy drama dragged on, commentators began trumpeting the death of former President Donald Trump’s power and influence in the GOP. Then today, it became known that Trump actually brokered the deal between the GOP rebels and Rep. McCarthy’s allies that make the Californian’s election as speaker possible.
“Trump’s spell over GOP breaks with McCarthy meltdown,” claimed Politico three days ago.
“Trump’s inability to lift Kevin McCarthy in speaker race leaves media asking ‘what power does he really have?’” asked Fox News just two days ago.
“House speaker election: fight over Kevin McCarthy’s leadership has exposed limits of Trump’s power,” chirped the academic site The Conversation.
Trump’s influence has waned in some parts of the country and grown in others. I tire of pointing out this simple fact of politics. Where Trump is well thought of, he still has tremendous influence. Where he’s not as well thought of, he has little influence. To make a blanket statement that the Trump “spell” is broken over the entire party is just ignorant.
Trump has good reasons to back McCarthy, loyalty being one of them.
The Trump-McCarthy relationship has taken several turns over the years, most often defined by loyalty from the latter toward the former. It was McCarthy who went down to Mar-a-Lago after Jan. 6 to meet with a seemingly exiled Trump and, implicitly, keep him in the fold.
Trump, in turn, has offered his support to McCarthy’s speaker ambitions even as contemporaneous materials surfaced showing the congressman’s frustrations with his presidency. After Republicans took back the House, Trump was in contact with members of the anti-McCarthy wing, publicly expressed his support for McCarthy, and even warned those waging battles against McCarthy that they were setting up a “doomsday scenario” in the House.
Anyone who has watched Trump over the last decade knows that he was going to do everything in his power to get McCarthy over the top and get him his speakership. PJM’s Matt Margolis reported on Trump’s efforts, which began in early December and ended up with the former president convincing the two most vocal McCarthy opponents — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) — to vote “present” and allow McCarthy to win a plurality of those voting.
You would think that, after predicting time and time again that Trump was through, that Republicans weren’t listening to him, that the former president would now fade into the background, these leftists would think before writing more embarrassing commentary on Trump’s demise. But the sun hasn’t quite set on Trump yet. And it certainly won’t be announced by a bunch of left-wing writers who don’t know much about politics — or Trump.