Kevin McCarthy Grilled by ‘Meet The Press’ Host on Delayed Trump Endorsement: ‘What’s Holding You Back?

During Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” NBC News anchor Kristen Welker questioned former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about his delayed endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Despite Trump’s position as the leading contender in the 2024 Republican presidential primary since he announced his campaign in November, McCarthy has refrained from endorsing him. As of Saturday, the former president maintains a significant lead with 56% of support, while Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds second place with 13.7%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

“Let me just ask you this quite simply, why haven’t you endorsed him yet?” Welker asked McCarthy.

“Well, the campaign is still going. There is a very good chance I would endorse the president,” McCarthy replied.

“He’s the clear frontrunner,” Welker pushed back. “He’s the frontrunner, what are you waiting for?” she asked.

“Well, I believe—well, you know what? because I’ve got a southern border wide open, I’ve got war in the Middle East, I’ve got things I’m focused on right now,” McCarthy said. “I believe President Trump will be out nominee and I believe President Trump will get re-elected. Think about what Biden has done.”

“Are you still a MAGA Republican, Mr. Speaker?” Welker interrupted.

“He [Biden] has brought chaos—you know what, I am a conservative Republican from the beginning to the end and that’s what I’ve always been. You can try to phrase different names to people, but I’m proud of who I am,” McCarthy responded.

In the past, Trump had given his endorsement to McCarthy as the choice for Speaker of the House, which was a contentious process that unfolded in January. McCarthy ultimately secured the speakership after fifteen floor votes, a result of dissent within his own party regarding his leadership.

More recently, on October 3, Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz initiated a floor vote to remove McCarthy from the position of Speaker. Gaetz’s motion received support from every House Democrat and eight Republicans, resulting in the current vacancy of the speaker’s chair.