Retiring Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the ousted former House speaker, said he is endorsing Donald Trump for president and would consider serving in his Cabinet if the GOP front-runner were to win back the White House.
McCarthy had a rocky relationship with the former president, notably when he declined to publicly support Trump’s bid for a second term, despite being one of his earliest and most loyal allies. But they always seem to patch things up, and as McCarthy prepares to leave Congress he gave his nod.
“I will support the president. I will support President Trump,” McCarthy said in excerpts of an interview to air this weekend on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”
McCarthy has not disclosed his post-Congress plans, but asked if he would willing to serve in a Trump cabinet, he said, “In the right position, look, if, if I’m the best person for the job, yes.”
“Look, I worked with President Trump on a lot of policies. I, we, worked together to win the majority,” he told CBS’ Robert Costa in the interview, his first to air on TV since announcing he will leave Congress. “But we also have a relationship where we’re very honest with one another.”
GOP lawmakers, even those who have opposed Trump strongly at times, are swiftly falling in line behind the party’s presumed nominee, as they brush past and ignore some of his more alarming authoritarian rhetoric.
McCarthy, as he led the House’s slim GOP majority, had withheld his support for Trump as tried to keep a more neutral air and fundraise from wealthy donors, some of whom have soured on the former president.
Also mindful that a number of rank-and-file lawmakers come from congressional districts that President Joe Biden won, McCarthy held back his endorsement so as not to put them in a political bind.
But McCarthy, who depended on Trump’s backing to become speaker after a grueling 15-vote spectacle in January, has often made his way back to Trump.
In the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, McCarthy at first called it one of the saddest days he had experienced in Congress, putting the blame on the former president — only to dash to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida weeks later to mend the relationship.
McCarthy was ousted as House speaker in October by his hard-right detractors, including some of Trump’s most loyal allies among the House GOP.