McCarthy spox clarifies Trump-speaker comments

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Kevin McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Now, that makes more sense.

A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said while it wasn’t “crystal clear,” the congressman meant to say during a Fox News interview on Friday that former President Donald Trump wants him to be House speaker if Republicans take the lower chamber back in 2022. In the clip, it appears McCarthy says Trump himself wants to be speaker, but McCarthy’s camp is clarifying what would have been a surprising admission for someone who has his own eyes on the gavel.

CNN’s Chris Cilizza predicted McCarthy would backtrack, and argues it’s “virtually impossible” to take him at his word because of what he described as “rampant dishonesty in the GOP over the last five years.” But others, including The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman, surmised that even if McCarthy didn’t misspeak, he was likely joking, and quipped that Trump “actually wanting to be speaker would be analogous to [Rudy] Giuliani actually wanting to be senator.”

McCarthy’s comments aside, though, The Atlantic‘s Edward-Isaac Dovere suggested the Trump-as-potential-speaker question, regardless of its likelihood, could become more of a focus in the lead up to the midterms, with Republicans having to answer whether they’d vote for Trump if they win the majority, and Democrats making “their animating message in part about keeping Trump from being speaker.”

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