Republicans nominated Tom Emmer to become the next House Speaker in a closed-door vote on Tuesday. The nod toward the Minnesota congressman comes amid weeks of turmoil as the party struggles to coalesce around a leader to replace Kevin McCarty, whom it ousted from the position earlier this month.
Emmer emerged from a handful of candidates who put their names forward for the position, defeating Rep. Mike Johnson on the fifth round of voting. He only landed 117 votes, however, which means he still needs to win over a sizable portion of the caucus if he wants to bring in the 217 he needs to win the gavel — that is, if every Democrat votes for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) as has been the case in previous floor votes.
Emmer — unlike McCarthy and replacement flame-outs Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan — actually voted to uphold the results of the 2020 election, and his status as a relative moderate has reportedly led some Democrats to consider abstaining from a floor vote in order to help him grab the gavel. The more Democrats who abstain, the more Republicans Emmer can afford to lose given that he only needs to win a majority of the votes that are cast.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) confirmed on Tuesday that he’s open to helping Emmer win if Emmer will make a few committments. “The dysfunction in the House is a national and global security issue,” Phillips wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “I would sit-out the Speaker vote if Tom Emmer will fund our government at negotiated levels, bring Ukraine and Israel aid bills to the floor, and commit to rules changes to make Congress work for the people.”
Trump, however, is not a fan. The former president has reportedly been telling allies he doesn’t support his Speaker bid, and MAGA mouthpieces like Steve Bannon have been openly campaigning against him, calling him a “Trump hater” on his podcast. Trump also shared a post from far-right ally Laura Loomer on Truth Social calling Emmer a “Trump hating Congressman who is now the Uniparty’s favored pick to become Speaker of the House even though he worked for a Soros group dedicated to getting rid of the Electoral College.” Trump shared a subsequent post from Loomer connecting Emmer to Obama.
Trump had nominated Jordan, who lost three floor votes last week (losing additional Republicans in each vote) before dropping out of the race.
Emmer has reportedly been working to win over Trump supporters since throwing his hat in the ring for Speaker. Politico noted on Monday that his allies have been emphasizing that they have “never heard him say a negative thing about Trump” and that he keeps a signed photo of himself with the former president in his office.
The next step for Emmer will be a floor vote, but it’s unclear whether enough MAGA diehards will cast their ballot for someone Trump seems to think is his enemy. If enough Democrats take after Phillips and abstain from voting, it might not matter.
Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/tom-emmer-nominated-house-speaker-republicans-1234860986/