NEW YORK (AP) – With House Republicans beset by infighting, Unable to converge a pickup for the speakerFormer President Donald Trump had a strong message for the new GOP majority.

“Don’t turn a great victory into a colossal and embarrassing defeat,” Trump urged in an all-caps warning on his social media platforms Wednesday morning 20 or so rebels to “close the deal” and back Kevin McCarthy.

does not help. Only one voter was shaken: a previous McCarthy supporter who opted to vote “present” instead.

The impasse is more than an embarrassment for McCarthy, which is now first person in a century To fumble through that many ballots – six so far – and feel no closer to securing a job than when the voting started. The rebellion is raising alarm within the party as members warn they are alienating their new, narrow majority and voters as they struggle to carry out their most basic task: electing their own leader.

The episode also raises deeper questions about the identity and future of the party. It was a stark reminder of Trump’s waning influence inside the GOP – even among the most vocal supporters of his Make America Great Again political movement – as he again seeks the party’s presidential nominationExposing a leadership void with no clear alternative to unify the party and guide it through practical governance responsibilities and political challenges.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned that anti-McCarthy Republicans were “playing with fire.”

Referring to the Republican National Convention, Gingrich said in an interview, “This is the greatest threat to us as a party since 1964.” The Republican base, he said, “is seeing chaos in the House and they are seeing the potential for a Trump-Never-Trump and Always-Trump confrontation that could be devastatingly divisive.”

Party allies in the conservative media were equally distressed.

“It’s a disaster for Republicans,” Fox News host Steve Dokey said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.” Sean Hannity said Tuesday night that House Republicans “are now on the verge of becoming a total clown show if they’re not careful.”

On Tuesday, McCarthy failed to win the necessary majority on three ballots as a group of 20 Republican rebels pushed for a more conservative alternative. On Wednesday, the anti-McCarthy group reached 21 through three more unsuccessful votes.

The elected representatives of the House cannot be sworn in until the Speaker is chosen, leaving the lower house of Congress in a state of procrastination.

As the 2024 election cycle begins, extraordinary infighting has erupted in the Republican ecosystem.

“I’m hearing from grassroots Republicans, donors, candidates and even federal elected officials that there is a significant leadership void on the Republican side,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a California attorney who serves on the Republican National Committee. The Speaker is challenging Ronna McDaniel for the leadership. Party’s organizing committee.

Dhillon declined to issue an endorsement of the speaker’s election, noting only that “it seems the old guard doesn’t get it.”

The chaos was in stark contrast with Democrats, who are largely united behind President Joe Biden in the new presidential election season.

As one of the failed Republican House votes emerged Wednesday, Biden appeared with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell The Democratic president signed into law in 2021 at a Kentucky event designed to highlight a bipartisan infrastructure package.

“This is what they are. Crisis, confusion, disarray. It’s unfortunate,” Pete Aguilar, House Democratic caucus chair, said at a news conference.

Much of the current GOP dysfunction is tied to Trump’s slash-and-burn politics and the party’s embrace of the former president’s vulnerable political position. McCarthy cites the model, who traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early 2021 to meet Trump after the January 6 insurrection — a move that helped fuel Trump’s political resurgence and widely Seen as part of an effort by McCarthy to strengthen his speakership bid. ,

But when Trump explicitly called on his perceived loyalists to back McCarthy on Wednesday morning, none of the 20 House Republicans who opposed McCarthy the day before — all from the party’s so-called MAGA wing — did. Heed Trump’s call.

Trump called out Republican critics of McCarthy and told them to “knock it off,” even after Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert nominated the Florida Republican on the House floor Wednesday. Byron Donalds to speak instead.

In a moment of rare public defiance of Trump’s wishes, Boebert said that Trump should instead “tell Kevin McCarthy, ‘Sir, you don’t have the votes and it’s time to withdraw. ‘”

As Trump struggles to expand his influence, several rivals in the upcoming presidential primary offer their own brands of leadership from afar.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu drew criticism from the Republican-led House after a strong re-election victory in November.

“Should we really be surprised that a bunch of fools in Congress are stalling things? Absolutely not,” Sununu said in a statement.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is expected to launch a White House bid after leaving office later this month, used the moment to highlight his own executive leadership.

Hogan said, “Republicans are hungry for meat-and-potatoes conservative results from a new majority in Washington, like the ones Republican governors are already delivering, but all they’re getting are handfuls of nuts.” “It is time to move on from this circus and show the country that we can govern with competence and common sense.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another potential 2024 Republican contender, suggested that his party’s struggle to elect a new speaker was somewhat of a challenge unique to a party that does not hold the White House.

“We need to do this fight publicly. We need to do this out loud. And we need to solve it, ”Christie said in an interview. “This is what happens when you are out of power with a party that does not have a clear national leader.”

No matter how quickly the speaker battle is decided, the GOP’s broad lead will remain zero for the foreseeable future.

By the end of the month, the RNC will have to settle its leadership battle as McDaniel is fighting for a fourth term. At stake are the future of the GOP’s national infrastructure and hundreds of millions of dollars in Republican resources.

By late spring, the battle for the Republican presidential nomination will begin in earnest, pitting ambitious candidates across the political spectrum against Trump in a battle for party supremacy.

And by next fall, the GOP’s fragile House majority will be entrusted with responsibilities involving the full faith and credit of the US government, among other legislative responsibilities with significant real-world consequences.

Christie suggested the new presidential primary season – set to play out over the next year and a half – is designed to determine the next generation of Republican leadership.

“By the time we get to convention in July of 2024, I suspect it will be settled,” Christie said.

But Gingrich, a longtime Trump ally, warned that the leadership battle could have lasting effects, leaving the base to wonder why they donated money to Senate and House candidates “to clean up this mess.”

Gingrich said, “I think people in the House are doing a lot of damage to the Republican Party and they don’t even realize it.”

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