Trump’s the Republican To Solve the Crisis in the House, Which Would Bolster His Chances in 2024

Time for Trump to push House leaders to make the selection of the next speaker quickly and with minimal drama.

AP/Alex Brandon
President Trump steps off his plane at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, August 24, 2023. AP/Alex Brandon

It is time for President Trump to exert his authority as putative head of the Republican Party. He needs to step in and resolve the mess created by Congressman Matt Gaetz and his seven cohorts in the House of Representatives. 

How can he do that? By making sure that the selection of the next House speaker is done quickly and with minimal drama. Get Mr. Gaetz and his allies to support the most electable candidate, whether it is Congressman Jim Jordan or Congressman Steve Scalise or whomever else party leaders and Mr. Trump choose.

It’s time to tell the bomb-throwers, all Trump admirers, to stand down. Because it is widely believed that Mr. Gaetz’s drive to topple Speaker McCarthy stemmed from personal animus rather than any ideological high ground, that should not be impossible. The eight whose votes bounced Mr. McCarthy have no favored candidate, they have no plan. They just wanted him out.

Why would the 45th president wade into this particular swamp? Because nobody has more to lose politically from the ejection of Mr. McCarthy. When voters — even those of us who admire his policies — think of Mr. Trump’s presidency, they think of chaos, and the recent turmoil in the House furthers that narrative.

Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of being incapable of governing; when eight dissidents conspire to bring down a widely respected speaker supported by 96 percent of the GOP caucus, that charge rings true.  

Mr. Trump, as is his wont, spent the days and hours leading up to the ousting of Mr. McCarthy posting on his social media site Truth Social about himself, his campaign for re-election, and his ongoing fraud trial brought by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James. He put up scores of polls showing himself leading in hypothetical match-ups against Mr. Biden, and reams of derogatory messages about GOP rivals such as Governors DeSantis and Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Taking time out from insulting the “birdbrain” Ms. Haley, who has been climbing in the polls, and in his only apparent response to the House vote to dislodge Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Trump posted, “Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?”

One can’t make this up.

Mr. Trump has an opportunity here. Although he is indeed leading in the polls, which never happened in 2020, the majority of voters dislike this former president. The Real Clear average of surveys shows only 40 percent of Americans currently nurse a favorable impression of the 45th president while 56 percent have an unfavorable view. That’s marginally improved over the 59 percent who were down on the former president in the wake of the January 6, 2021, riots, but not much. 

Even President Biden, currently polling lower than any president in recent history, has slightly better numbers, at 41 percent approving and 55 percent disapproving. Still, a sizable majority of Republicans are backing Mr. Trump’s re-election drive.

While only 37 percent of respondents to a recent Monmouth poll were “enthusiastic” about Mr. Trump running again, 78 percent of Republicans were happy to have the former president become the party’s nominee. For Mr. Biden, the numbers are worse, with 32 percent of voters wanting him to be the party’s candidate, and only 68 percent of Democrats. 

That suggests that Mr. Trump, currently leading the GOP primary race by 45 points, is likely to be the Republican pick. It is far less certain that Mr Biden will ultimately be the Democrat candidate. There is much speculation, driven by Mr. Biden’s obvious mental decline, that Governor Newsom of California or some other popular Democrat will take his place, though the circumstances under which the president might step aside are far from clear.

Were Mr. Trump to square off against someone other than Mr. Biden, he would need more broad-based support to win. That is why this squall in the House is such a perfect opportunity for him. He needs to show voters he can put aside petty grievances and work for the betterment of his party and indeed the country. He needs to lead.

Someone who could unify Republicans — who are better trusted by voters on the economy, immigration, and crime, all sure to be critical issues in the next election — would win broad accolades and, quite possibly, the White House in 2024. Opportunity knocks for Mr. Trump. 


The New York Sun

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