It wasn’t that anyone seriously thought he’d win the 218 votes to be elected. In fact, most who were familiar with the conference’s internal dynamics believed he couldn’t even get the conference nomination, requiring a simple majority of Republicans.
Centrist Republicans running in Biden districts were dreading the prospect of being tied to Trump as speaker. And even traditional and conservative Republicans were not happy about the idea of reporters peppering them with questions about whether they think Trump should lead the House.
Moreover, many Republicans believed that Trump’s foray into the fight was going to only prolong the power vacuum ahead of another government shutdown fight.
That’s when Trump’s more senior allies stepped up, according to people familiar with the backroom maneuvering who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They argued to Trump that his pursuit of the speaker’s gavel would backfire.
Not only would he lose to Scalise or Jordan, they told him but that he could receive just a handful of votes since the nomination process is done by secret ballot — meaning Republicans were free to vote their conscience without MAGA blowback. [Continue reading…]