There are interesting sub-battles within the Republican Party as the battle for the House Speaker continues.
The most remarkable dynamic is Donald Trump’s reiteration of his full-throated endorsement for Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, while McCarthy’s detractors are almost entirely Trump-supporting Republicans. Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz are the best examples of “MAGA”, with the former actually performing an “America First” tour in the last election season.
Trump just endorsed McCarthy on Truth Social. pic.twitter.com/9eiHpJRq0Q
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) January 4, 2023
We are here, however, with all previous alliances crumbling and many members of the anti-McCarthy group not afraid to challenge the former president. Lauren Boebert claims that Trump called them to tell “knock it off”. She then took to the House floor and was not pleased.
Boebert says that Trump called them and told them to “knock this off” and vote for McCarthy.
She then says that Trump should tell McCarthy to withdraw. pic.twitter.com/s7wVyh3pTY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 4, 2023
Bravo to her. It is refreshing to see real free-thinking in congress. This body has been plagued for years by groupthink and a dominant leadership that basically tells its members how they should vote. In an earlier article, I stated that I think Republican voters are tired of a powerful elite cabal (which includes Trump) making all the decisions.
And while I get that Trump wants to flex his influence, in doing so, he’s managed to endorse two-thirds of the party’s establishment (Kevin McCarthy and Ronna McDaniel), which makes him part of the establishment. That reality can’t be brushed aside, and I think Boebert has realized she can’t straddle the fence anymore. Trump is her opposition here, and she’s not afraid to deal with that head-on. Seeing that is far preferable to seeing Republicans fall in line because they are told to.
Matt Gaetz also shared criticism of the former president and derided the endorsement of McCarthy.
Supporting McCarthy is the worst Human Resources decision President Trump has ever made.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 4, 2023
Trump’s motives are unclear to me. Trump could have been a hero by supporting Byron Donalds, joining his largest supporters, and fighting against the establishment. He instead doubled down his support for McCarthy. This feels like Trump just wants to be perceived as supporting the winner, given that McCarthy will prevail once he makes enough concessions.
This is not leadership. It’s more like the same type of inside baseball that many Republican voters hate. Trump is really so desperate for power that he will do anything to be part of the establishment. It is difficult to draw a different conclusion.
This aside, McCarthy’s 21-year-old holdouts are inspiring others to challenge the one who had previously defined their movement. Donalds’s rise to the top as a viable candidate has made a difference in the game.