McCarthy: No commitment from Trump to not target Republicans
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said President Trump has not given him a commitment to refrain from targeting House GOP incumbents in their primaries.
“I don’t have a commitment on that. I work closely with the president on working on endorsements to win seats in the House,” he told reporters at a press conference on Friday. “We did quite well [last cycle] — you know, everybody said we’d lose 20 seats.”
McCarthy said that his current focus is not on the 2022 election, arguing it is too far out to be his top priority.
“So, what I have found is we’ve worked very well together — I think the election is a little further away,” he continued. “I’m focused more on what the American people need so really my focus right now is not on politics, my focus is getting people back to work, back to school and back to health.”
His remarks come as the GOP grapples with its path forward in a post-Trump era, with some in the party arguing they should shift away from Trumpism while others argue it should continue to lean in.
Trump also has made it clear he intends to use his political operation to go after Republicans who oppose him.
In the House, 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump, while seven Republican senators voted to convict him in the Senate trial.
The Republicans who voted to impeach Trump include House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House.
Trump was impeached for inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. He is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and the number of Republicans who voted to convict him also represents a high watermark for senators in an impeached president’s party.
Lawmakers who have opposed Trump have themselves come under criticism from grassroots conservatives and state and county parties, with several members facing censure votes.
Just this week, McCarthy and Cheney disagreed over whether Trump should speak at a conservative conference this week, an awkward moment that spelled out the different views on McCarthy’s own leadership team.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted to acquit Trump but called him morally responsible for the mob attack. But on Thursday in an interview with Fox News, McConnell said he would back Trump if he were the GOP’s nominee in 2024.
While McConnell indicated he is willing to help Cheney in her primary during a recent interview with Politico, McCarthy would not make a similar commitment to helping the Wyoming Republican ward off a challenge.
“Liz hasn’t asked me,” he told reporters when asked whether he has agreed to aid her in her race.