Why did Kevin McCarthy meet Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago? Duo have 'cordial' chat on 'taking back House' in 2022
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with former President Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump has been staying since he left the White House on Inauguration Day. McCarthy and Trump reportedly discussed strategies for winning back the House majority for the Republicans in next year's midterms, according to a readout provided by Trump's Save America Political Action Committee (PAC).
According to the statement, McCarthy and Trump "discussed many topics, number one of which was taking back the House in 2022." The statement continued, "President Trump's popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time."
The statement described the meeting between McCarthy and Trump as being "cordial" and highlighted a stronger-than-expected performance among key House GOP candidates.
The statement says, "President Trump has agreed to work with Leader McCarthy on helping the Republican Party to become a majority in the House. They worked very well together in the last election and picked up 15 seats when most predicted it would be the opposite. They will do so again and the work has already started.”
An image of Trump standing alongside McCarthy at the Mar-a-Lago resort was also released and is the first official photo of the former president released by his team since he left office on January 20. According to reports, the photo emphasizes that Trump will continue to support the GOP in their campaigns, as questions remain on whether Trump would launch his own political party.
McCarthy had traveled to South Florida for donor meetings, as well as a get-together with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez when he stopped by to visit the former President at his current residence.
McCarthy released his own statement confirming Trump's account of the meeting, according to CNN. McCarthy said, "Today, President Trump committed to helping elect Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022."
"A Republican majority will listen to our fellow Americans and solve the challenges facing our nation. Democrats, on the other hand, have only put forward an agenda that divides us — such as impeaching a President who is now a private citizen and destroying blue-collar energy jobs. For the sake of our country, the radical Democrat agenda must be stopped," he continued.
McCarthy added, "A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms our country was founded on."
McCarthy has usually been supportive of the former President, taking a surprise stance when he condemned Trump over his reaction on the day of the failed insurrection attempt at the Capitol on January 6, saying then, "The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."
However, CNN reports that McCarthy has since backtracked on the former president's role in the events, saying he did not believe Trump "provoked" the insurrection "if you listen to what he said at the rally."
According to CNN, McCarthy was warned against going to see Trump. A source told CNN that meeting with the former President would make him look like he was "crawling back to Trump" and that it would further isolate him from mainstream donors who want to move away from Trump.