House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) was considered the favorite in the next GOP nomination for the House Speaker race.
While he was endorsed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Trump's camp was very cold on Emmer because Emmer had not yet endorsed Trump.
That, according to Trump, all changed on Saturday.
Most people have probably not really heard of Tom Emmer before last week.
Emmer is a McCarthy loyalist currently serving as the House Majority Whip.
After Rep. Scalise (R-LA) failed even to get his name to the floor for a vote, the scuttlebutt was that anyone associated with McCarthy was probably doomed to failure, yet Emmer, after the McCarthy endorsement, was tagged as the favorite in the race by the mainstream media.
One of Trump's spokespeople came out to say that Trump would not be endorsing Emmer, mostly because Emmer had not endorsed Donald Trump in the GOP primary race.
When the resistance by Trump was brought up to Emmer, he denied there was any friction between himself and Trump. He also stated that he would reach out to Trump over the weekend to discuss this.
Emmer did place that call, and Trump was more than happy to share the fact that Emmer appeared to come to Trump groveling for his support.
This was Trump after the weekend…
Reporter: Will you endorse Emmer? He hasn’t always been your biggest fan…
Trump: 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 pic.twitter.com/F8zwX8fVSk
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 23, 2023
Emmer's camp was asked how this narrative came to be, and an ally of Emmer's stated:
"This stems from a false narrative created by allies of Jim Banks in the whip race.
"Emmer and allies have been in touch with MAGA-world all weekend. Emmer was one of [the] first members to endorse Trump in 2016. He endorsed Trump in 2020; he has said he will endorse [the] GOP nominee this cycle."
There seems to be less resistance among MAGA members of the House now that Trump has seemingly softened on Emmer just a bit.
While Trump has not publicly endorsed Emmer, his surrogates in Congress are talking kindly of him. Most notably, Rep. Gaetz (R-FL), the Republican behind the ouster of McCarthy.
Gaetz stated that Emmer is viewed more positively by the entire caucus, saying:
"Tom Emmer is one of the few members of leadership who doesn't lie to the membership."
This now has me thinking that Emmer could have a shot at winning the speakership if he is nominated this week by the GOP caucus in the House.
This is pretty big for Emmer because up until 24 hours ago, I was convinced he had no path to 217.
Trump does not necessarily need to endorse Emmer. All he needs to do is not block the nomination, which his spokespeople did last week.
The fact Gaetz seems to be on board with this tells me that most of MAGA would also be on board with his nomination.
I was dead wrong in analyzing what would happen with Scalise and Rep. Jordan (R-OH), so I don't want to make any predictions here, but I will say that I am far more confident today that we could have a Speaker by the end of this week than I was on Friday afternoon.
UPDATE 4:00 p.m. CDT 10.24.2003: Mike Emmer has withdrawn from the race after Trump torpedoed the nomination by calling Emmer a "RINO" and suggesting one of his allies be nominated for Speaker. Emmer has met the same fate as Rep. Scalise, with his nomination never making it to the floor after having won the caucus vote.