After day one of the 118th Congress ended with three rounds of voting and the position of House Speaker unresolved, former President Trump took to his social media platform to urge House Republicans to vote for former Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!” the former President posted on Truth Social.
Trump had previously declared his support for McCarthy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Even so, McCarthy was unable to secure the necessary 218 votes needed to achieve a majority after three nearly unprecedented rounds of voting on Tuesday.
In each of the three rounds, other House Republicans nominated spoilers to prevent McCarthy from gaining more votes than the Democratic leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). In the first round the spoiler was Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and in the second two rounds it was Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)—who made it clear he did not want the position and voted for McCarthy in all three rounds. In round two, in fact, it was Jordan himself who nominated McCarthy.
Just before 5:30pm Eastern Time, the House adjourned to convene again at noon Wednesday.
Despite his disconcerting start, McCarthy vowed to stay in the race for Speaker as it headed toward a second day of voting.
The last time the House had not chosen a Speaker in the first round was exactly 100 years ago, in 1923. The longest it has ever taken was 1855, when 133 rounds of voting took place over a span of two months.
McCarthy’s challenge in securing the Speakership may be symptomatic of a new generation of conservative Republicans, many aligned with Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda, who want to upend business as usual in Washington.
In November, right after the midterms, former President Trump announced he was running for reelection in 2024. At the time only one prominent Republican—Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama—publicly declared his support for the former President’s campaign.