Trump has repeatedly griped to senators who visit about McConnell, asking who could be a new Senate Republican leader; many demur or just allow Trump to rant, one adviser said. Advisers have also urged Trump to stop criticizing former vice president Mike Pence for certifying the 2020 election results, arguing that the invective hurts Trump more than his previous No. 2.
One adviser said some have urged Trump to withhold his support for McCarthy to be the next speaker of the House if Republicans retake the chamber in 2022, and the former president has appeared intrigued by the idea.
“Why not focus on the biggest, brightest brass ring in politics and the Republican Party between now and 2024, which is who should be speaker when, with Donald Trump’s help, Republicans take the House?” this person said, speaking anonymously to share private discussions.
Others close to both Trump and McCarthy, however, said they believe Trump will ultimately have little choice but to support McCarthy for speaker should Republicans regain the House.