NBC News anchor Kristen Welker pressed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the reason he has not endorsed former President Donald Trump during Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”
McCarthy has yet to endorse Trump despite him being the frontrunner of the 2024 Republican presidential primary since his campaign announcement in November. The former president is leading the race with 56% of support as of Saturday, while Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to hold onto second place with 13.7%, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“Let me just ask you this quite simply, why haven’t you endorsed him yet?” Welker asked McCarthy.
“Well, the campaign is still going. There is a very good chance I would endorse the president,” McCarthy replied.
“He’s the clear frontrunner,” Welker pushed back. “He’s the frontrunner, what are you waiting for?” she asked.
“Well, I believe—well, you know what? because I’ve got a southern border wide open, I’ve got war in the Middle East, I’ve got things I’m focused on right now,” McCarthy said. “I believe President Trump will be out nominee and I believe President Trump will get re-elected. Think about what Biden has done.”
“He [Biden] has brought chaos—you know what, I am a conservative Republican from the beginning to the end and that’s what I’ve always been. You can try to phrase different names to people, but I’m proud of who I am,” McCarthy responded.
Trump previously endorsed McCarthy to be speaker during the tense process of electing him in January. McCarthy won the speakership after fifteen floor votes due to several members of his own party opposing his leadership.
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s motion to vacate ousted McCarthy as speaker in an Oct. 3 floor vote. Every House Democrat and eight Republicans voted in favor of Gaetz’s motion, leaving the speaker’s chair currently vacant.
Three rounds of House floor votes failed to elect former speaker-designate Jim Jordan, a Republican congressman from Ohio, as speaker this week. After a secret ballot removed Jordan as the nominee, Majority Whip Tom Emmer announced his bid for the role and received an endorsement from McCarthy.