After former President Donald Trump publicly endorsed GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy for House speaker Wednesday, urging Republican holdouts to “vote for Kevin” and “close the deal,” some still remain opposed, raising questions about Trump’s dwindling influence on Capitol Hill in the midst of his third presidential campaign.
Longtime Trump supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz is one of the 20 House Republicans opposing McCarthy’s bid. He dismissed the former President’s effort, calling it “sad.”
Trump’s statement also did not move Rep. Ralph Norman, an aide of the lawmaker told CNN. “He respects Mr. Trump’s opinion on the matter, but is still unconvinced Rep. McCarthy is unwilling to make meaningful moves towards balancing the budget.”
“If Matt Gaetz is ignoring you, that’s not a good sign,” said one Trump ally working on the 2024 campaign.
Trump has been making calls on McCarthy’s behalf in the last 24 hours in an attempt to break the conservative blockade against him, but his efforts have so far been fruitless, the ally added.
One lawmaker who spoke with Trump late Tuesday suggested the former president should run for speaker himself, according to a person briefed on the call. Trump demurred and continued to push this person to support McCarthy, claiming that he would be a solid “America First” supporter.