Updated Jan 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy says he has Trump's support for speaker

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) walks to the House Chambers of the U.S. Capitol Building on December 23, 2022 in Washington, DC.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy walks to the House Chambers of the U.S. Capitol Building on Dec. 23, 2022. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters he intends to fight on in his bid to be speaker and said former President Donald Trump gave him his backing when he spoke with him Tuesday night.

Driving the news: McCarthy's comments came hours after Trump declined to say if he'd support him for the speakership role after the California Republican lost three speakership ballots.

  • "Trump has already reiterated his support," McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol, per The Hill. "I talked to him tonight."

What he's saying: Although Trump told Breitbart last Month that McCarthy "deserves the shot" at speaker, he told NBC News Tuesday he has "everybody calling me wanting my support, but let's see what happens."

  • "We'll see how it all works out," Trump added.

The big picture: McCarthy needed 218 votes, or a majority of the House, to secure the speaker's gavel. On the first two ballots, the same 19 Republicans blocked McCarthy by voting for other candidates. On the second ballot, they all voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). On the third, the tally grew to 20 Republicans voting for Jordan.

  • McCarthy told reporters Tuesday night he can see a "path" in which he "flips 11 votes" and wins the speakership if some Congress members are absent or vote "present," per Politico's Sarah Ferris.
  • "Democrats have 212 votes. You get 213 votes, and the others don't say another name, that's how you can win," McCarthy added, according to The Hill.
  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more comment from House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and further context.

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