Mr Emmer has frantically been trying to quash the narrative that he’s not supportive of former president Donald Trump.
Mr Emmer and his staff worked overtime over the weekend making calls, including one to Mr Trump. The call between Mr Trump and Mr Emmer has been described as cordial, even as Mr Trump has been telling associates that he doesn’t want Mr Emmer as speaker, bothered by his vote to certify the 2020 election and believing that he hasn’t been sufficiently defending him in public amidst his broadening legal woes.
“Will you endorse Emmer? He hasn’t always been your biggest fan…” a reporter asked Mr Trump in New Hampshire on Monday.
“He’s my biggest fan now because he called me yesterday and told me he’s my biggest fan so… I’m trying to stay out of that as much as possible,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump is reported to have spoken to several candidates for speaker over the weekend, including Oklahoma congressman Kevin Hern, but he’s not expected to formally endorse anyone.
Mr Trump is furious at Mr Emmer’s vote to certify the 2020 election even as he signed a petition calling on the Supreme Court to take action. The former president is also reported to be annoyed at Mr Emmer for giving the advice ahead of the 2022 midterms that GOP candidates should avoid focusing on Mr Trump during their campaigns.
Mr Emmer shared a clip on X of Mr Trump mentioning their phone call at the weekend in an attempt to assuage his caucus that he has a good “working relationship” with Mr Trump.
“If my colleagues elect me Speaker of the House, I look forward to continuing our strong working relationship,” Mr Emmer wrote on X on Monday.
A spokesperson for Mr Emmer told Politico that “Whip Emmer worked hand in hand with President Trump to help House Republicans fire Nancy Pelosi and retake the majority”.
“If he becomes Speaker, Whip Emmer looks forward to continuing that productive relationship,” the spokesperson added.
Pundits supportive of Mr Trump, such as his former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, are pushing the notion that Mr Emmer is a Washington insider with no real connection to the MAGA movement.
“Tom Emmer, the biggest never-Trumper in the House, a guy who hates Donald Trump,” Mr Bannon said on his War Room podcast on Friday.
“Here’s the probability Tom Emmer is going to be speaker – zero,” he said.
Islamophobic hard-right influencer Laura Loomer posted that Mr Emmer is “one of the worst members of Congress” and “essentially a Democrat”.
Mr Emmer joined the House after winning his seat in 2014 after spending six years in the state legislature and losing a tight race for Minnesota governor in 2010.
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