House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has reportedly rushed to mitigate the fallout after implying that former President Donald Trump might not be the strongest candidate in the 2024 presidential race.
McCarthy called Trump to apologize, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
The speaker reportedly explained to the former president that he misspoke during the interview and asserted that the media had misconstrued certain aspects of his statements. Trump allies expressed satisfaction with McCarthy’s apology, though several advisers told CNN they were still wary of the speaker.
McCarthy didn’t stop there. After his call with Trump, the speaker walked back his remarks and offered effusive praise of the ex-president in an interview with the right-wing publication Breitbart. He then sent out a fundraising email in which he hailed Trump as the “strongest” candidate to defeat President Joe Biden.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, McCarthy said he thinks Trump can win in 2024 but does not know if he is the “strongest” candidate. The house speaker’s remarks outraged the former president’s supporters and sparked questions about his stance and motivations.
“Can he win that election? Yeah, he can win that election,” McCarthy said, referring to a Biden-Trump matchup. “The question is: ‘Is he the strongest to win the election?’ I don’t know the answer.”
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond