The process of selecting the next speaker of the House is already messy, and on Friday, former President Donald Trump quietly informed supporters that he does not support House Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s bid.
Trump’s talks occur at the same time that Emmer has started to quietly indicate his interest in the position. The Republican from Minnesota, who has been contacting other politicians, has become the early front-runner after receiving the support of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
However, if Trump launches a persistent campaign, it might be disastrous for him because no presidential contender can afford to lose a small number of votes.
Top aides to the former president have already begun to obstruct Emmer’s campaign. Supporters of Trump have started disseminating opposing material on the congressman, and on Friday afternoon, the pro-Trump “War Room” podcast descended into an Emmer attack. Top Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn mentioned during an interview on the program that Emmer had not yet endorsed Trump in the Republican presidential primaries.
“If somebody is so out of step with where the Republican electorate is, where the MAGA movement is, how can they even be in the conversation?” Epshteyn said. “We need a MAGA speaker. That’s what it comes down to. Because if you look at the numbers, if you look at the energy, if you look at the heat, this is the Trump party, this is the MAGA party. It is no longer the old-school khaki establishment Republican Party.”
Former Trump White House advisor and “War Room” presenter Steve Bannon intervened to denounce Emmer as a “Trump hater.”
Trump’s allies said that Emmer’s appointment as speaker would cause a rift between House Republicans and their prospective presidential nominee. One aide claimed that Emmer “has no relationship with Trump.”
Speaking with others on Friday, Trump expressed his concerns about Emmer taking over as speaker and implied that he thought the Minnesota Republican was not a supporter, according to two people with knowledge of the private discussions. They claim that Trump has expressed dissatisfaction over Emmer’s lack of a strong defense against the indictments he is facing. In addition, he has brought up Emmer’s criticism of him after the Capitol riot on January 6, which was sparked by Trump. Emmer has vehemently rejected the accusations that, in his capacity as the chair of the House GOP campaign arm at the time, he counseled Republican candidates to steer clear of Trump.
The director of communications in Emmer’s Whip office, Casey Nelson, refuted the notion that there was hostility between the two factions. “As Chair of the NRCC, Whip Emmer collaborated closely with President Trump to assist House Republicans in dismissing Nancy Pelosi and regaining the majority,” said Nelson. Whip Emmer looks forward to carrying on such fruitful partnership if he is elected Speaker.
In the past, Trump had endorsed House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan’s candidacy for speaker. However, Jordan’s campaign was unsuccessful on Friday as House Republicans decided not to back him as their choice for speaker in a secret ballot. The Ohio Republican had previously lost three attempts to secure the necessary votes to secure the speakership. McCarthy’s removal and the unsuccessful bid of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise came before his own.
Other contenders are now able to enter the contest as a result of the upheaval. Other than Emmer, Reps. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, and Jodey Arrington of Texas are considered potential candidates.
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