And McCarthy’s campaign appears to be working, at least to some degree. While Trump is still disappointed with the California Republican’s initial response and even reportedly called McCarthy a vulgarity, one Trump adviser said the pair remains on good terms despite their “fits and starts,” adding that Trump appreciated McCarthy’s comments chastising Cheney. Another source says Trump and McCarthy had a cordial conversation since their last, heated interactions about the riots.
McCarthy’s public and private efforts to smooth things over with Trump shows just how much he still needs the MAGA wing of the party on his side in order to cement his future leading the GOP.
Yet the next two years could prove tricky for McCarthy as he tries to win back the majority and prevent his bitterly divided party from erupting into an all-out civil war. And the crisis over the Capitol attack, along with a conservative-led push to oust Cheney from leadership that will likely come to a head next week, will serve as a major test of McCarthy’s leadership in the post-Trump GOP.
“I think that everyone in leadership is trying to put the party on the best foot that they can, given the challenges of the moment,” said freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), who voted to impeach Trump.