The DNC was tormenting Kevin McCarthy today. They sent out a press release that said "As Congress comes back into session Kevin McCarthy’s silence about Marjorie Taylor Greene’s attendance at a white nationalist conference speaks volumes. In 2019, McCarthy removed Steve King from his committees after he spoke favorably about white nationalism. But now he’s promised to restore Greene to her committees if Republicans win. The question remains-- does Kevin McCarthy think it’s okay Marjorie Taylor Greene headlined a white nationalist conference? Does he stand by his promise to elevate her?"
He's got problems-- a real balancing act to achieve his life's goal: the Speakership. He already lost it once because of far right antipathy. Now he's calmed them down... while keeping more mainstream conservatives on his side. This Marjorie Traitor Greene (and Paul Gosar) sideshow will probably fade away without anyone changing sides. A few days ago Chris Cillizza wrote that "There's a sentence in a New York Times profile of Kevin McCarthy-- and his pursuit of the House speakership-- that should send chills up the spine of any ally of the California Republican. It's this one: 'Current and former aides to [Donald] Trump describe Mr. McCarthy's relationship with the former president as cordial but lacking in any loyalty.' Here's why that line is a big problem for McCarthy. If the GOP takes control of the House in the November midterm elections, he would need a simple majority (218) of the 435 members of the chamber to be elected speaker. Which means-- unless Republicans win a huge majority this fall-- he will likely need votes from members of the House Freedom Caucus, the ardently pro-Trump wing of the party, to get across the finish line."
Among the current members are all the psychopaths in the House Republican conference, from the 3 QAnon ladies (Boebert, Traitor Greene and Miller) to assorted nuts like Gym Jordan, Madison Cawthorn, Jody Hice, Mo Brooks, Ronny Jackson, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Scott Perry, Louie Gohmert, Scott DesJarlais, Andy Biggs, Andrew Clyde, Clay Higgins, etc. They mostly worry that McConnell, considered a complete corporate whore, does not come close to passing their purity test.
"We know that Kevin McCarthy has a problem in our conference," Greene said on Gaetz's podcast in November 2021."He doesn't have the full support to be speaker."
She added: "He doesn't have the votes that are there, because there's many of us that are very unhappy about the failure to hold Republicans accountable, while conservatives like me, Paul Gosar and many others just constantly take the abuse by the Democrats."
The best (only?) way to get those renegade Republicans on board with McCarthy's speaker bid, it seems to me, is if Trump tells them to.
But the Times' profile-- and, in particular, that one sentence cited above-- suggests that it's far from a sure thing Trump would throw his full endorsement behind McCarthy.
Now, things can change-- especially Trump's whims and views about politicians within his party. And McCarthy has gone out of his way to grovel to Trump, traveling to Mar-a-Lago to make amends in the wake of critical comments he had made about the former President's handling of January 6, 2021.
But loyalty is a one-way street with Trump. He expects utter obeisance, but is loath to ever be too devoted to anyone outside of his family.
As Cillizza explained: "A lack of loyal feelings from Trump spells big trouble for McCarthy as he tries to put together a coalition that would make him House speaker if Republicans retake the majority next fall. A single negative word from the former President could very well doom all of McCarthy's best-laid plans." Several Capitol Hill Democrats I've asked about this said they have heard rumors that Trump prefers Gym Jordan but that he hasn't made up his mind yet about which one to make Speaker, especially since even if it would be really easy to deny McCarthy the job, it would be much harder to to get Jordan the job.