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Trump’s Kevin McCarthy Problem

FLASH: Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling deal passed last night on a 314-117 vote. 165 Democrats voted for it, and only 149 Republicans joined them.

As conservative opposition to the Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling sellout grows it has produced some unexpected collateral damage to former President Donald Trump’s comeback campaign.

As next in line to the presidency after the Vice President, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is Trump’s highest-ranking supporter. The two men are allegedly on close personal terms, with the former President referring to McCarthy as “my Kevin.” And there’s no doubt that Trump’s behind the scenes support was crucial to McCarthy gaining the final votes necessary to become Speaker after he was opposed by some of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the House.

It is reported Mr. Trump was kept abreast of the negotiations by Mr. McCarthy, and so far, the former President has stayed quiet on the debt ceiling and the details of the deal between McCarthy and Biden.

But now Trump has a serious problem. The deal to raise the debt ceiling McCarthy brokered with President Joe Biden and Capitol Hill Democrats is almost universally opposed by the grassroots of the MAGA Movement – and many of Trump’s earliest and strongest supporters in Congress are opposed to the deal and calling Kevin McCarthy a sellout.

As Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times reported, 0ne of Mr. Trump’s loudest surrogates in the House, Representative Byron Donalds, Republican of Florida, has already come out against it.

“After I heard about the debt ceiling deal, I was a NO,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday. “After reading the debt ceiling deal, I am absolutely NO!!”

What’s more, several of the other 2024 Republican candidates (or likely candidates) for President have already come out in opposition to the Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling deal.

Florida’s principled limited government constitutional conservative Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, at present Trump’s closest competitor for the 2024 Republican nomination, blasted the deal on Fox & Friends, saying, “Prior to this deal … our country was careening towards bankruptcy. And after this deal, our country will still be careening towards bankruptcy.”

Governor DeSantis went on to say, “To say you can do 4 trillion [dollars] of increases in the next year-and-a-half, I mean, that’s a massive amount of spending. I think that we’ve gotten ourselves on a trajectory here — really since March of 2020, with some of the COVID spending, and totally reset the budget, and they’re sticking with that. And I think that that’s just going to be totally inadequate to get us in a better spot.”

Mr. DeSantis’s broadside comes as Mr. McCarthy is trying to round up Republican votes to approve the deal this week while even relatively “moderate” Republicans, such as Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, have come out against the deal.

And Governor DeSantis is not the only GOP presidential hopeful to oppose the deal.

Entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who has gained a following positioning himself as the thinking man’s outsider candidate also came out against the deal.

"I would vote against the debt ceiling deal. We need to think on the timescales of history, not 2-year election cycles. We should stand for principles, not incrementalism or window-dressing. I won't apologize for that," Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter.

Former Vice President Mike Pence also expressed opposition saying, “It’s time to be honest with the American people and get everybody to the table to restore fiscal integrity to our nation,” he continued. “By ignoring the drivers of our national debt and avoiding honest conversations with the American people, President Biden and the Washington establishment continue to pile the burden of debt onto the backs of our grandchildren, and the American people deserve better.”

The Hill reported newly announced presidential candidate Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina commended Speaker McCarthy for his efforts in negotiating with Biden, but the South Carolina Republican-turned-2024-presidential-candidate said he disagreed with a key aspect of the bill, which would allow the debt ceiling to be raised through early 2025.

“The question I asked myself is ‘At the end of the negotiation, is it in our best interest as a nation to allow Joe Biden, someone we cannot trust on spending, to have an open checkbook, no limit on the credit card until the end of his term?'” Scott said during an Axios event.

“My answer is ‘no.’ So the fact that the current deal allows for him to continue to spend however much he does with no limit is something that I can’t support,” he added.

Personnel and understanding how Congress works were two of Donald Trump’s greatest weaknesses as President, and his close relationship with Kevin McCarthy has thrown both into high relief as the debt ceiling battle approached its climax.

A word from Trump probably would have killed the debt ceiling deal, however, given Trump’s well-known tendency to put loyalty before principle, we are guessing that's why he stayed quiet on Kevin McCarthy’s failure in the debt ceiling deal, even at the risk of being outflanked by Governor DeSantis.

  • GOP senators

  • debt ceiling

  • Mitch McConnell

  • federal budget

  • national debt

  • federal spending

  • Mike Lee Letter

  • debt ceiling default

  • spending caps

  • work requirements for welfare

  • Limit, Save, Grow Act

  • Reclaim COVID spending

  • Fiscal Responsibility Act

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 Republican primaries

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