Just a couple hours after Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) became the latest speaker nominee for Republicans, Donald Trump may have already killed his chances of taking the gavel.
I have many wonderful friends wanting to be Speaker of the House, and some are truly great Warriors,” Trump said. “RINO Tom Emmer, who I do not know well, is not one of them. He never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement, or the breadth and scope of MAGA-MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! He fought me all the way, and actually spent more time defending lIhan Omar, than he did me- -He is totally out-of-touch with Republican Voters.”
Trump continued that he believes Emmer has “now learned his lesson, because he is saying that he is Pro-Trump all the way, but who can ever be sure?”
“Has he only changed because that's what it takes to win? The Republican Party cannot take that chance, because that's not where the America First Voters are. Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!” Trump wrote Tuesday, in between courtroom breaks for the New York Attorney General's bank fraud trial that he's attending.
Emmer already faced an uphill climb getting 217 GOP votes on the floor, after several rounds of ballots Tuesday morning left him with a narrow victory for the conference’s nomination. But the combination of Republicans already coming out against Emmer, coupled with Trump’s blistering takedown, may leave the House GOP once again short of the votes on the floor.
Emmer may never have had the votes even if Trump stayed out of it. Before Trump issued his statement, there seemed to be about a dozen Republicans strongly opposed to his speakership—for a variety of reasons.
But once Trump came out against Emmer—in such strong terms—the GOP whip's chances of actually securing the gavel immediately started evaporating, even though GOP lawmakers tried to downplay the statement.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), who came in second to Emmer on Tuesday during the speaker election, didn't know about Trump's post when reporters asked him. But he tried to play the good soldier and suggest that Republicans just have to come together.
“I don't want to comment on that," Johnson told reporters. "I mean, the former president has his own opinions. I think what we have to do in this room is unite and begin to govern again. And as soon as we can do that, the better.”
What Emmer does now is an open question. News of Trump's statement was still working its way around Capitol Hill as Emmer tried to flip holdouts. But as House Republicans—particularly those who are still fiercely loyal to the former president—learn about the post, Emmer is expected to lose even more support.
He may opt to hold a floor vote and muscle through his nomination, but the longer he waits, and the longer Trump's statement hangs out there unaddressed, the harder it will likely be for him to get the speakership.
Emmer's best hope is likely getting in touch with Trump, as he did Sunday when he told the former president he was his biggest fan. But Trump now doesn't appear to believe that line, and he's not famous for reversing himself just to help other Republicans.
If Trump were to come around on Emmer, he would likely want assurances that Emmer could get the speakership—which was by no means a given before, and looks more than doubtful now.