According to one source, Trump has repeatedly questioned his Republican allies about efforts to remove Cheney from her leadership position and run a primary candidate against her. He has also been showing those allies a poll commissioned by his Save America PAC that purports to show that Cheney’s impeachment vote has damaged her standing in Wyoming, even urging them to talk about the poll on television.
McCarthy confirmed Thursday that Trump “committed to helping elected Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022.”
Donald Trump Jr called into the rally and referred to the poll. “Liz Cheney’s favorables there are only slightly worse than her father’s shooting skills,” said Trump Jr. A day earlier, the former president’s son tweeted his own criticisms of Cheney.
“It’s time to get this RINO out of GOP leadership!” Trump Jr. wrote.
Cheney’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
“So I support her, but I do think she has a lot of questions she has to answer to the conference,” McCarthy said in a Sunday interview with Gray TV.
The visit between Trump and McCarthy was a remarkable move for the California Republican, who on January 13 said on the House floor that Trump “bears responsibility” for the deadly storming of the US Capitol. McCarthy himself faces pressure from GOP donors and others in the party to distance himself from the former President following the January 6 attack.
One source close to him told CNN McCarthy was warned against “crawling back to Trump,” while another source said he was told that the Florida trip would make him look weak.
But in reestablishing his relationship with Trump, McCarthy is considering what will win him back the House and possibly catapult him to the speakership. Sources told CNN he is eager to realign himself with Trump after corporate donors — including American Express, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Commerce Bank, Dow and Marriott — have suspended PAC donations to members of Congress who objected to certifying the election for now President Joe Biden.
“President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time,” read the statement from the group, which also released a photo of Trump and McCarthy smiling together at Mar-a-Lago.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, David Wright, Dana Bash and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.