Just hours after being chosen as the party’s choice, House GOP Whip Tom Emmer’s candidature to be speaker is on the danger of collapse due to resistance from the right fringe of his conference and fresh attacks made by former President Donald Trump.
Several Republicans who disagree with Emmer have stated they will not back down from their stance and have demanded a change in leadership. Emmer can only afford to lose four Republicans, while 26 opposed him in private.
Members of the far right have criticised Emmer’s votes on a number of issues, including his certification of the 2020 election, his support for a 47-day government shutdown, his support for the bipartisan agreement to avert a debt default, and his support for the codification of same-sex marriage.
After House Republicans nominated him as their new speaker, Trump took to Truth Social on Tuesday to attack Emmer, saying that supporting him “would be a tragic mistake.”
Two people close to Trump told AWN that members of Trump’s staff have been calling GOP members to discourage them from voting for Emmer as speaker. One of our informants described them as “whipping hard.” According to the second source, a growing number of members have stopped contributing as a result.
Since the House has been paralysed since previous leader Kevin McCarthy was removed three weeks ago, pressure is mounting on Republicans to nominate a new leader. However, it is becoming less and less likely that any Republican will receive the 217 votes necessary to take the gavel home.
Trump’s reposting of Truth Social comments against the House GOP whip on Monday night and then adding his own assault after Emmer was selected come despite a friendly phone call with the former president over the weekend.
Emmer told AWN, “We have a good relationship,” when questioned about Trump as he left Monday night’s GOP conference meeting.
There were several contenders, so on Tuesday, members voted a series of secret ballots, eliminating the one who had the fewest votes after each round. Reps. Mike Johnson (Louisiana), Kevin Hern (Oklahoma), Byron Donalds (Florida), Austin Scott (Georgia), Jack Bergman (Michigan), and Pete Sessions (Texas) were the other potential nominees.
On Monday, Republican candidates gathered behind closed doors for a forum. At that gathering, Meuser, who had been a candidate, withdrew from consideration.
Texas Representative and Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul told AWN’s Manu Raju on Monday, “It’s going to be very difficult, but we have to get there.” McCaul was responding to Raju’s question about his level of anxiety that no candidate can obtain 217 votes on the floor.
And Florida Republican Vern Buchanan cautioned that the conference might have to collaborate with Democrats if the final nominee can’t get to 217 votes on the floor.
Not good at all. Because “a lot of people are going to want to, with a mind set out there, they don’t want to work with Democrats, but it might end up being a point where that’s the only way,” as Buchanan put it. We need to reopen government offices. People are highly frustrated and outraged.