Trump, McConnell, Pence Congratulate McCarthy After Narrow Speaker Win

Trump, McConnell, Pence Congratulate McCarthy After Narrow Speaker Win
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gestures in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2023. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who became the 55th speaker of the House of Representatives by a narrow margin after 15 rounds of voting, is receiving praise from former President Donald Trump and several lawmakers.

“Congratulations to Kevin McCarthy and our GREAT Republican Party,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social. “The ‘Speaker’ selection process, as crazy as it may seem, has made it all much bigger and more important than if done the more conventional way.”

The former president had supported McCarthy for the post of House speaker despite some hardline members from the party opposing the California lawmaker. Before the vote, Trump had called on House Republicans to unite behind McCarthy.

“Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB—JUST WATCH!” Trump said in a Truth Social post before the vote.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell extended his well wishes: “Congratulations to Speaker McCarthy and the Republican House majority. Senate Republicans look forward to working together to check and balance Washington Democrats, bring oversight to this reckless Administration, fight the far left’s radical policies, and defend America.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on July 26, 2022. (Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on July 26, 2022. (Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)
Similarly, former Vice President Mike Pence said in a Jan. 7 tweet: “Congratulations to my friend, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy! I know @GOPLeader Speaker McCarthy will lead the House with Integrity, Skill, and Conservative Principles.”
GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel posted: “Pelosi has officially been fired and we have a new Speaker! Congratulations to @GOPLeader and the new @HouseGOP majority who will bring much-needed accountability to Biden and Democrats in Congress.”

Investor Collin Rugg called for McCarthy to “prove [him]self.”

“Kevin McCarthy is the next speaker of the House. Prove yourself @GOPLeader and launch an immediate investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden,” he said after McCarthy won following four days and 15 rounds of voting.
“[Thirteen] Republican holdouts switched sides to team McCarthy. Major respect to each one of them. They held the line and got what they wanted for the American people,” he said earlier Friday, amid negotiations between McCarthy and 20 GOP holdouts.

Tom Fitton, president of conservative educational foundation Judicial Watch, congratulated McCarthy for being elected as speaker of the House.

“God bless you as you take on this awesome responsibility. You and your colleagues have a Republic to save. God bless and protect America!” he said in a Jan. 7 tweet.

Not Supporting McCarthy

The six Republicans who did not support McCarthy in the final vote and voted “present” include Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Bob Good (R-Va.), and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.).
“American people voted for a new Republican majority in the House, albeit a small one, as a check on the Biden administration,” said Good in a series of tweets on Jan. 6, before the final vote. “As such, Republicans in the majority must have total confidence in our leader to fight President Biden’s agenda.”

“We might have had that confidence in Mr. McCarthy if he had shown as much tenacity in fighting against Democratic policies, and for the average American, over the last two years as he has now desperately shown in losing multiple votes to become speaker this past week,” he added.

“We already know what a House under Mr. McCarthy’s leadership looks like. He has had 12 years to prove himself a bold and courageous conservative leader who was willing to stand up against the left’s agenda.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a Jan. 7 tweet: “Speaker McCarthy’s dream job could turn into a nightmare for the American people. To get the votes, he surrendered to demands of a fringe element of the GOP. Americans want Congress to build on the historic bipartisan achievements from the last two years, not more gridlock.”

McCarthy became the House speaker by securing 216 votes and beating Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who had received 212 votes.

McCarthy’s win was made possible after six of the remaining conservative dissidents, who had initially opposed him from the first vote, ended up voting “present.” This cut down the number of members voting to 428, bringing down McCarthy’s vote target from 218 to 216.

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