A gaping rift within the Republican Party regarding who should be the next speaker of the House of Representatives has sparked widespread speculation and input from prominent figures far outside of the D.C. beltway.
For his part, Twitter CEO Elon Musk came out firmly in favor of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has lost a string of leadership votes since the new legislative session was set to begin on Tuesday.
As the third day of voting was underway, Musk cast his lot with the former House minority leader in a tweet.
Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2023
His statement put him in the company of a majority of House Republicans — as well as former President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, a group of Trump-supporting conservative lawmakers continued their opposition campaign that kept McCarthy from reaching the 218 votes necessary to become speaker.
Echoing the sentiment of others who believe McCarthy is the candidate best suited to receive support from across the GOP caucus, he followed up his initial tweet with a post asking: “If not McCarthy, then seriously who?”
The 20 Republicans who spent days voting against McCarthy have nominated an array of alternative candidates, including Trump, but none were able to significantly dent the support McCarthy had secured among more than 200 other GOP lawmakers.
As for why Musk decided to weigh in on the political matter, some reports referenced the billionaire’s history of contributing to McCarthy’s prior congressional campaigns.
Meanwhile, Trump continued pressuring members of the House Freedom Caucus to reconsider their votes against McCarthy in the interest of establishing a speaker and allowing the new legislative session to officially begin.
In a Truth Social post on Wednesday, the former president cited negotiations that were underway as a positive sign of progress and urged all House Republicans — in all capital letters — to “vote for Kevin, close the deal, take the victory & watch crazy Nancy Pelosi fly back home to a very broken California, the only speaker in U.S. history to have lost the ‘House’ twice.”
The recommendation led to a rare disagreement between Trump and one of his fiercest supporters in Congress.
When Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) spoke up to nominate Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) for speaker on Wednesday, she asserted: “Even having my favorite president call us and tell us we need to knock this off, I think it actually needs to be reversed. The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy that sir, you do not have the votes, and it’s time to withdraw.”