WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, on Tuesday expressed some doubts that former President Donald Trump is the best GOP candidate to defeat President Joe Biden and win back the White House next year.
In an interview on CNBC, McCarthy first said that the former President could beat Biden in November 2024.
“Yes, he can beat Biden,” McCarthy said, adding that “Trump’s policies are better and more straightforward than Biden’s policies.”
Asked whether Trump could win the general election given two criminal cases in which he is the accused, McCarthy signaled that the former president might not be the strongest option.
“Can he win this election? Yes, he can,” McCarthy said. “The question is, is he the strongest to win the election? I don’t know this answer. But can anyone, can anyone beat Biden? Yes, anyone can beat Biden.”
He gave no indication of who might be the stronger Republican contender to win the election over Biden.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Hours later, on Tuesday afternoon, McCarthy appeared to change his mind, he said in an interview with beard that Trump is “stronger today than in 2016”.
“As usual, the media is attempting to drive a wedge between President Trump and House Republicans while our committees hold Biden’s Justice Department accountable for his two-tier judiciary,” McCarthy told the far-right website. “The only reason Biden is.” Using his armed federal government to go after President Trump is because polls continue to show he is Biden’s strongest political opponent.”
Not long after his Brietbart interview, McCarthy’s campaign campaign texted his supporters calling Trump “Biden’s STRONGEST opponent”! It included a fundraising link asking for donations to be split between McCarthy’s campaign and Trump’s Save America PAC; The default allotment is $24.75 for McCarthy and $0.25 for Trump.
Trump was recently charged in a 37-count indictment over his handling of classified documents he took from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. In early April, he was separately indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to his alleged role in hush money payments late in his 2016 presidential campaign. In both cases he pleaded not guilty.
The House Speaker’s comments are remarkable given his alliance and longstanding defense of Trump and his actions. Although McCarthy said days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that Trump should “take his share of the responsibility” for the insurgency, the California Republican visited Trump at his resort in Mar-a-Lago a few weeks later to assess the situation there to smooth relationship.
McCarthy has repeatedly praised and expressed support for Trump, who endorsed McCarthy only as a speaker this year after failing to secure the gavel on three votes.
On Friday, McCarthy told reporters that he supports a proposal by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., to “overturn” both Trump’s impeachment trials. the measure would be purely symbolic and non-binding. McCarthy justified his position with the fact that there was “no due process” in both impeachment proceedings.
“I voted against both impeachments. There was no due process in the second impeachment,” McCarthy said, noting that he dismissed a recent attempt to impeach Biden. “What came up this week was that someone wanted to raise an impeachment case against Biden. And I didn’t think that was right because there’s no due process, is there? So should you not be in line, especially with the Constitution?”