There are a lot of people in the Republican Party who are frustrated about the direction the party has taken, with so much in-fighting that led this week to the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
One of those people who is frustrated is former President Donald Trump. He expressed his frustration just before the House took up the motion to oust McCarthy from the speakership role, which was brought by far-right Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida.
On his social media platform Truth Social, Trump wrote:
“Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?”
It’s somewhat of an odd post from Trump, who is famous for criticizing fellow Republicans, some of whom he has labeled RINOs – or Republicans In Name Only. But, McCarthy – and Gaetz – don’t fit into that category for Trump, so he apparently believes there was no need for that level of in-fighting.
Gaetz, who started the process to vacate the speaker on Monday night, said before the Tuesday vote that he spoke to Trump recently, but he didn’t divulge the details of what they discussed.
It’s likely that Trump tried to talk Gaetz down from bringing the motion forward. After all, Trump helped McCarthy secure the speakership back in January, following 15 rounds of voting that took place just before the new Congress began.
As part of the deal that was struck earlier this year, though, McCarthy agreed to a provision that stated that only one vote was needed to trigger a full House vote on vacating the speakership. And Gaetz, who was one of the leaders of the group of Republicans in the House who opposed McCarthy, ultimately took advantage of that provision.
McCarthy’s role at the top of the House could have been secure had Democrats decided to back him and not throw the lower chamber into chaos. But, they chose not to do that, most likely basking in the fact that Republicans now have to face a tough road ahead.
Before this week, Trump remained quiet about McCarthy’s situation. His last-minute post on Truth Social could have just been about saving face for him and weighing in on the big issue, as the outcome of the vote by that point was already pretty much decided.
McCarthy and Trump have stayed in touch since the former president left the White House, with the former speaker traveling to Mar-a-Lago in Florida in early 2021.
In January, Trump urged other Republicans – both privately and publicly – to support McCarthy for the role of Speaker as divisions were widening in the party. Even with that recommendation from Trump, it still took 15 voting rounds for McCarthy to secure the gavel.
Now, he becomes the Speaker with the third shortest tenure in U.S. history. Only Michael Kerr, who served for 258 days before he died in 1876, and Theodore Pomery, who only served for one day in 1869, served as Speaker of the House for a shorter period of time.