House Leadership Memoryholes Speaker Chaos, Shuffles Into Line Behind Trump

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Newly elected U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) (L) listens to Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) (C) introduce him with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) outside the U.S... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Newly elected U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) (L) listens to Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) (C) introduce him with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) outside the U.S. Capitol on October 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. After a contentious nominating period that has seen four candidates over a three-week period, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) was voted in to succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted on October 4 in a move led by a small group of conservative members of his own party. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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With the beginning of 2024, top Republicans are lining up behind Donald Trump, perhaps acknowledging a fact that much of D.C. has resisted since the summer: That the primary was over before it began.

Among them are a handful whose careers Trump derailed just months ago.

Trump denies that he played a role in encouraging the great House Speaker Defenestration of 2023, though Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the man driving it, spoke vaguely about how his “conversations with the former president” led him to feel “great confidence” that he “did the right thing.”

And though Trump may not be directly responsible for the implosion of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership, he placed his thumb on the scale once the voting got going, backing some candidates for the job and knocking back others.

Perhaps no one was knocked back more aggressively than GOP whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).

“I have many wonderful friends wanting to be Speaker of the House, and some are truly great Warriors,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “RINO Tom Emmer, who I do not know well, is not one of them.”

“He fought me all the way,” Trump added of Emmer, who had endorsed him in 2016 and 2020, but voted to certify the results of the 2020 election. “Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!” he concluded.

Trump’s aides then sent that post to members of Congress to make sure they saw it.

Within hours, Emmer withdrew from the race.

Yet earlier today, Emmer endorsed Trump’s 2024 run. “It’s time for Republicans to unite behind our party’s clear frontrunner,” he wrote on X.

Emmer is, of course, not alone. GOP leadership is lining up behind Trump despite the humiliation they suffered due to actions of his acolyte, Gaetz, earlier this year — and, in the case of Emmer, the humiliation heaped on him by Trump personally.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), another failed speaker candidate, endorsed Trump yesterday. While not subjected to as aggressive a treatment by Trump as Emmer, he, too, was thrown under the bus by the former president, who backed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) in the speaker chaos instead, claiming concern about Scalise’s health.

“I like both of them very much. But the problem, you know, Steve is a man that is in serious trouble from the standpoint of his cancer,” Trump told Fox’s Brian Kilmeade. “I mean, he’s got to get better for himself.”

Scalise had announced in August that he was diagonosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, and described his case as “very treatable.”

For his part, Kevin McCarthy got on the phone with Trump weeks after the ordeal, and listened as the former president listed his reasons for not calling Gaetz off.

Per The Washington Post, which broke the news of the McCarthy-Trump summit:

During the call, Trump lambasted McCarthy for not expunging his two impeachments and not endorsing him in the 2024 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the conversation.

When he recounted this call to sources who spoke to the Post, McCarthy claimed he responded with bravado: “F— you,” he claimed he told the former president.

McCarthy endorsed Trump early last month.

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