Perhaps hoping to avoid another embarrassing situation in which his chosen candidate for speaker of the House loses three rounds of votes — and gets his speaker designee status yanked out of his hands by his colleagues — former President Donald Trump made the tongue-in-cheek (sort of?) suggestion this afternoon that perhaps Jesus Christ is the best candidate for speaker.
Whether he intended to make it or not, it is an apt point: this Republican Party cannot seem to coalesce behind a speaker candidate on this plane of reality.
Trump, of course, likes to see himself as this larger-than-life Messiah figure, drifting down from on high to direct the party at its greatest moment of dysfunction. But after backing Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for speaker didn’t work out last week, it appears the former president wants to look as though he is staying out of it for now.
“I’m staying above it, I have to right now,” he told reporters in New Hampshire this afternoon. “But I’ve spoken to just about all of the candidates — quite a few of ’em. And they’re terrific people. You know that four threshold is very tough, it’s a very tough thing no matter who it is.”
The former president has played a substantial role in empowering the personalities and behaviors that got us to this moment. But Trump’s opinion is just one data point in the cacophonous noise around the current speakership jockeying. And last episode, the Jordan holdouts turned out to be more beholden to moderate voters back home than to the whims of the MAGA king.
While Trump may want to stay out of it to avoid a second embarrassment, at least one member vying for the nomination isn’t letting him be entirely hands-off.
Trump has made it clear that he’s not into Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the House Majority Whip who has emerged as one of the most popular of the nine throwing their hat in the ring (it’s a low bar). In comments to reporters this afternoon, Trump smugly noted that Emmer toadily called himself the former president’s “biggest fan” on a phone call between the two — but added, oh so generously, that he’s “always gotten along with” the congressman.
Desperate to prove his MAGA bona fides, Emmer picked up the clip and ran with it.
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New episode of the Josh Marshall Podcast: Ep. 295: JorDone
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