Source: Hot Air

I’d be tempted to lead this with a “when even Donald Trump tells you your stunt’s gone too far,” but that’s not fair to Trump. The former president has declared his support for McCarthy before, including in the last few days, while a handful of backbenchers try to force him out of the House Speaker post.

This morning, after speaking with McCarthy last night, Trump made another go of it. On his own platform, where one would imagine that support for the anti-establishmentarianism of this “Never Kevin” effort would be more popular, Trump openly accused the backbenchers of “turn[ing] a great triumph into a giant and embarrassing defeat”:

Will that change the calculus for the 20 or so members of a 222-person conference that’s holding Congress hostage? Don’t forget that the Speaker election has to conclude before the House can do any business. That means that none of the planned investigations into the Bidens can start, the investigation into the disgraceful exit from Afghanistan and the Americans abandoned there has to wait, and the opportunity to demonstrate that Republicans can govern rather than just conduct obstructionist stunts shrink by the day. That’s the “defeat” to which Trump alludes.

It’s also worth noting that the man who made “draining the swamp” his motto seems to think McCarthy is a good choice for this role. The twenty or so backbenchers appear to be contradicting Trump in their claim that he’s “the biggest alligator,” as Matt Gaetz said yesterday. Many of these dissidents got as far as they have by either embracing Trump or patterning themselves after his persona and adopting his tactics. At a certain point, however, they risk becoming more holy than the MAGA pope, so to speak, and outright crossing him and Trump’s more loyal ranks.

What happens now with this more robust statement of support from Trump? First off, it means McCarthy won’t back down, as some thought possible yesterday. It also freezes Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise in place, even if they were inclined to step up as alternatives, which they gave no indication of doing yesterday. If MAGA world turns on Gaetz, Andy Biggs, and the eighteen or so dissidents now, they will become awfully lonely very quickly.

To that point, imagine what it’s like to be on the wrong side of MAGA and the Murdochs:

If they had an agenda, they might still be able to articulate a path forward for their dissent. They don’t have one, nor do they have a candidate that would unify the party. Jordan wants to run investigations, not a five-seat-margin House, and Scalise wants to run the conference. Their sudden shift from Biggs to Jordan yesterday exposed the knee-jerk and personal quality of this opposition, plus showed how little influence they have within their own caucus.

About the best they can do now is negotiate a way out of this box canyon into which they’ve marched. At this point, they’ll be lucky to retain any of the concessions McCarthy offered for a first-ballot vote; the best they can do would be to bargain for an agreement to set aside reprisals. If they try to cut a deal with Democrats, MAGA world would shred them after Trump’s endorsement this morning, and they have no other political cover.

As for the Democrats, Trump’s endorsement probably takes one option off the table for them as well. Hakeem Jeffries got all of the mileage he was going to get out of this with McCarthy’s humiliation over three ballots. He could have cemented this feud in place today by keeping sixty or so of his caucus out of the chamber for the quorum call on today’s votes. That would have lowered the majority threshold to somewhere around 190, which McCarthy should have been easily able to get even with the dissenters, and let the reprisals and recriminations tear the House GOP apart for the next two years. With Trump re-upping a robust defense of McCarthy, Jeffries probably can’t pull that off now. Or at least not today.

The votes begin today after noon ET. Get your popcorn ready.

Addendum: Duane Patterson makes a very good point about the stakes for Trump in this move: