Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted as House speaker following a revolt within his own party and went to the polls without a key ally who helped propel him to the leadership post in January — Donald Trump.
The former president, currently involved in his civil fraud trial in New York, intentionally did not participate in the latest spat between Republicans, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Sources said Trump, who has allies on both sides of the speakership battle, believes there is little political upside to engaging in a power struggle now. Florida Rep. Matt Gates, who led the effort to unseat McCarthy, has endorsed Trump’s 2024 presidential bid and is serving as a surrogate for his campaign.
“He did his thing when he ran for Speaker for Kevin, but at the same time DJT needs to focus on his own business, and he can’t stick his neck out whenever there’s a fight in the House, especially when he has people on both sides of the aisle who support him,” a Trump associate told CNN. said.
The former president, who spent the weekend campaigning in Iowa before traveling to Manhattan to attend his hearing, said little about the congressional battle, his aides said.
A senior adviser who regularly travels with Trump told CNN, “He never once mentioned the speaker fight. If he’s interested in getting involved, he’ll bring it on.
Trump’s non-committal decision was a stark contrast to his efforts to help McCarthy earlier this year. In January, when McCarthy struggled to become speaker by more than a dozen votes, the former president urged GOP holdouts to stand down at the 11th hour.
Trump called on McCarthy’s behalf to his staunch supporters, including Getz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia. When McCarthy eventually won the 15th ballot, he immediately thanked the former president for his support.
It’s unclear whether Trump will ultimately change his mind and decide to insert himself into the speaker’s fray, especially if it drags on for days, as it did last year. But until Tuesday afternoon, the former president avoided taking a side, issuing only vague statements about the infighting in Congress.
Asked about Getz’s efforts to oust McCarthy during a campaign stop in Iowa on Sunday, Trump told reporters, “I don’t know anything about those efforts, but I like them both very much.”
Pushed further by reporters on whether he expected McCarthy to win, Trump said he “didn’t want to comment” on the fight, saying, “I’ve always had a great relationship. [with McCarthy] When he said very nice things.”
On Tuesday, minutes before the House was set to vote on a Getz-led effort to remove McCarthy from his role, Trump released a wide-ranging statement about the internal infighting over Truth Social.
“Why are Republicans always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the far left Democrats who are destroying our country?” Trump wrote.