(GoRealNewsNow.com) – US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy has infuriated President Donald Trump’s supporters by stating he didn’t know if the latter was the “strongest” possible GOP presidential candidate for 2024.
McCarthy’s comments came during a live TV interview on the CNBC show “The Squawk Box.”
“Can Trump beat Biden? Yeah, he can beat Biden. The Republicans get to select their nominee. I think if you want to go sheer policy to policy, it’s not [just] good for Republicans, it’s good for America. Trump’s policies are better, [more] straightforward, than Biden’s policies,” the House speaker said, as cited by The Daily Caller.
“Can he win that election? Yeah, he can. The question is, is he the strongest to win the election? I don’t know that answer,” he added.
In subsequent comments to Breitbart News several hours later, McCarthy backtracked, stating that Trump was “stronger today than he was in 2016.”
While the former president hasn’t reacted publicly to the speaker’s words, a Politico report claimed on Wednesday that Trump’s aides and allies were dismayed and angry.
According to The New York Times, McCarthy called Trump on Tuesday, apologizing for what he said on CNBC.
McCarthy’s apology and comments to Breitbart did little to calm “the fury in Trump’s inner circle,” Politico writes, noting a belief that the speaker owes his job to Trump but fails to demonstrate “unflinching loyalty.”
The controversy has also made Trump allies wonder why McCarthy has yet to endorse Trump for the Republicans’ 2024 presidential nomination.
“At what point is it OK for Kevin McCarthy not to endorse Trump? Donald Trump has been very good to Kevin McCarthy,” a GOP consultant told Politico.
“If Donald Trump wanted… he could have him out as speaker by the end of the week,” he added.
According to the report, McCarthy’s attempt at damage control exacerbated his situation.
The speaker’s team sent fundraising emails and texts stating, “Trump is the STRONGEST opponent to Biden!”
However, McCarthy’s allies were asked to remove those as the former president’s team required special permission for fundraising off his name.