Former President Donald Trump responded to the news that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected speaker of the House following a tense Friday night session and 15 separate ballots, the most in over a century.
McCarthy took a moment after securing his victory to thank the former president for helping him secure enough votes to win after the former president made several phone calls to conservative holdouts who had been standing in the way of McCarthy’s victory since the 118th Congress began its first session on Tuesday.
“I do want to especially thank President Trump,” McCarthy told reporters on Saturday morning after a tumultuous night. “I don’t think anyone should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning. … He would call me and he would call me and he really was, I was just talking tonight, helping to get those final votes.”
The former president responded on his Truth Social account, simply saying, “Thank you Kevin. It was my great honor!”
Trump seemingly played a key role, shown as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was seen handing her phone to one of the anti-McCarthy holdouts, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT). The phone showed a call from one “DT.”
‘It was the perfect phone call,” Greene said in a tweet.
In order to secure victory, McCarthy was required to make concessions for members of the House Freedom Caucus, his biggest opposition. Among these concessions were a budget which does not allow the debt ceiling to increase, an end to all COVID mandates and funding, a term limit vote, single subject bills, a vote on a border security plan, and the allowance of at least 72 hours given for members to read bills.
In addition, McCarthy promised to create a committee dedicated to investigating corruption and politicization in the FBI, not unlike the Church Committee of the 1970s, which investigated the CIA and led to the exposure of things like the infamous MKULTRA program.
After McCarthy’s victory, Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) handed the speaker’s gavel to the California Republican, who will now preside over the 118th Congress.
“It took a loss by a razor-thin margin in a late-night Round 14, a heated exchange with one of his sternest opponents, and a near-adjournment of the House till Monday to break a logjam unseen since before the Civil War,” Newsmax reported after the 15th round of balloting. “The final tally that put him over the top: 216 for McCarthy, 212 for Democrat leader Hakeem Jeffries and 6 simply ‘present.’”