A new report by The Washington Post claims that former House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy erupted in an outburst of profanity at former President Donald Trump on the day he was removed as Speaker of the House last October.
Following the January 6, 2021 incident at the U.S. Capitol building, then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy extended support to former President Trump during a visit to Mar-a-Lago, which included a photo opportunity for the ex-president and then-House Leader.
This shift in McCarthy’s stance, after he had previously blamed Trump for the attack, laid the groundwork for Trump’s resurgence as the de facto leader of the Republican Party.
Years later, the dynamics shifted. After McCarthy’s removal as House speaker on October 3, Trump explained his reasons for not intervening in the campaign led by Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and others to remove McCarthy.
According to sources familiar with their conversation, Trump criticized McCarthy for not overturning his impeachments and not endorsing him for the 2024 presidential race. McCarthy reportedly responded with, “F— you,” when recounting the call to others. However, a spokesperson for McCarthy denied that he used such language, asserting to The Washington Post that their relationship remains positive.
Despite these tensions, McCarthy and Trump continue to communicate. McCarthy has faced criticism for his varying public and private remarks about Trump, as highlighted in former Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney’s new book. Cheney’s book details a conversation where McCarthy justified his visit to Trump post-January 6, citing concerns for Trump’s well-being.
Trump played a role in McCarthy’s initial struggle for the speakership, but remained relatively silent during the Gaetz-led effort to oust him. Gaetz, in an interview, expressed confidence in his actions, implying Trump’s support.
McCarthy, who has not yet endorsed any presidential candidate, planned to endorse Trump closer to the Iowa caucuses. He cited concerns about donor reactions and the need to protect vulnerable House Republicans as reasons for delaying his endorsement.
McCarthy’s future in public office remains uncertain. He has expressed the need for full commitment if he decides to run again and is exploring career options beyond Congress. Since his removal, McCarthy has openly criticized those involved in his ouster and continues to play a role in party fundraising. His top fundraiser, Jeff Miller, is organizing an event for the new speaker, Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson.
The Republican Party faces challenges in fundraising, partly due to Trump’s influence and his status as a front-runner in the presidential primary. This has led to a reduction in large donations to the National Republican Congressional Committee in recent years.