Musk picks side in House speaker showdown
Twitter CEO Elon Musk declared on Thursday that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy should become speaker of the US House of Representatives. Although the GOP holds a majority in the House, McCarthy hasn’t garnered enough support from within his own ranks to assume the position.
“Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker,” Musk tweeted on Thursday morning, a day after McCarthy came up short in the sixth successive ballot aimed at nominating a speaker to replace outgoing Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
With the Republicans holding a 222-213 seat majority in the House, McCarthy needs 218 votes to secure the gavel. However, GOP lawmakers are not unanimous in their support for the Californian, with 20 of them refusing to back his leadership bid.
The pro-Trump ‘Freedom Caucus’ has led opposition to McCarthy, whom they consider too open to compromise with the Democrats. In addition to wanting the party to push a harder line on immigration and rein in government spending, this group wants McCarthy to commit to a set of rules granting them more time to review legislation before voting, and more power to remove a speaker during Congress’ term.
While most of the Freedom Caucus’ members are ardent supporters of Donald Trump, the former president has lent his support to McCarthy. In a post to his Truth Social platform on Wednesday, Trump urged the GOP to “vote for Kevin, close the deal, take the victory and watch crazy Nancy Pelosi fly back home,” adding that the party should not “turn a great triumph into a giant and embarrassing defeat.”
Musk has previously described himself as a political centrist, but said that he voted Republican in November’s midterm elections. While the billionaire has not publicly expressed any admiration of or support for McCarthy before, the politician defended Musk in November when the Biden administration said it was “keeping an eye on” his dismantling of Twitter’s censorship policies.
“That is offensive to me,” McCarthy said at the time. “I think the American public have spoken on this. I think our First Amendment stands up and I think they should stop picking on Elon Musk.”