McCarthy questions whether Trump is ‘strongest’ Republican against Biden

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) questioned whether former President Trump is the strongest Republican candidate to run against President Biden in 2024, even as he expressed confidence Trump could beat Biden.

“Can he win that election? Yeah, he can. The question is, is he the strongest to win the election? I don’t know that answer,” McCarthy said on CNBC on Tuesday morning. “But can somebody, anybody beat Biden? Yeah, anybody can beat Biden. Can Biden beat other people? Yes, Biden can beat ‘em. It's on any given day.”

"Squawk Box" co-host Joe Kernen mentioned how Trump’s legal woes are complicating his candidacy. Those include indictments over his handling of classified documents after he left office and a 2016 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The comments prompted pushback from some on the right, with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon saying on his “War Room” show that Trump made a mistake supporting McCarthy as Speaker.

The Speaker appeared to clean up his comments hours later to Breitbart News, saying that Trump is “stronger today than he was in 2016” and is “Biden’s strongest political opponent,” pointing to his poll numbers.

“As usual, the media is attempting to drive a wedge between President Trump and House Republicans as our committees are holding Biden’s DOJ accountable for their two-tiered levels of justice,” McCarthy told Breitbart. “The only reason Biden is using his weaponized federal government to go after President Trump is because he is Biden’s strongest political opponent, as polling continues to show.”

McCarthy on CNBC had earlier expressed confidence in Trump defeating Biden if he is the GOP nominee.

“Can Trump beat Biden? Yeah, he can beat Biden,” McCarthy said.

“The Republicans get to select their nominee. If you want to go for sheer policy to policy, it’s not good for Republicans; it’s good for America. Trump’s policies are better, straight-forward, than Biden’s policies,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s uncertainty about whether Trump is the strongest candidate is notable given how close the Speaker has remained to the former president. Although McCarthy said in the aftermath of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, that Trump bore some responsibility for the attack, he visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago weeks later. Last week, McCarthy backed proposals to expunge Trump’s two impeachments.

But there is skepticism about Trump in McCarthy’s conference. A few members are outwardly critical of the former president in the wake of the indictments, and others have endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

McCarthy has not yet endorsed any candidate in the presidential race, but he has said he might. 

Updated at 3:49 p.m.

After Filing For Re-Election, Poll Shows Liz Cheney Trailing By 30 Points

Liz Cheney officially filed for re-election and was promptly slapped with a poll showing her trailing her primary opponent by 30 percentage points.

Cheney announced on Thursday that she was seeking a fourth two-year term representing Wyoming’s at-large House seat.

“In Wyoming, we know what it means to ride for the brand. We live in the greatest nation God has ever created, and our brand is the U.S. Constitution,” she tweeted with an accompanying video announcement.

Added Cheney, “I’m running for re-election and asking for your vote because this is a fight we must win.”

She’s declaring concern for Wyoming when everyone has watched her on a 24/7 rampage against a man who’s no longer in office. Sorry, Liz, but your brand is Trump. Not the Constitution.

RELATED: Liz Cheney Accuses MAGA Republicans Of Being ‘Pro-Putin, Anti-Semitic, And White Nationalist’

Liz Cheney’s Re-Election Bid Takes a Hit Right Out of the Gate

Cheney’s main challenger in the primary, to be held in mid-August, is Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming attorney who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.

A new poll from the Club For Growth, a conservative organization opposing Cheney, shows her down a whopping 30 points to Hageman, with just 6% undecided.

The group hasn’t formally endorsed Hageman as Trump has.

Despite their conservative background, the poll according to Politico paints “the starkest illustration yet of the political peril Cheney faces this year.”

The outlet also states that the survey “is consistent with other data out of Wyoming in the last year.”

Cheney’s favorability ratings in another recent poll spell trouble for the anti-Trump Republican as well.

RELATED: Report: George W. Bush Donating To Republicans Who Voted To Impeach Trump

She’s ‘Courageous’

As a nice consolation prize for this devastating re-election news, Liz Cheney was recently awarded the John F. Kennedy Library Profile in Courage Award and praised by CNN for her speech.

During her oration, she ran down what makes her a terrific lawmaker and what she could do for her constituents in Wyoming.

Just kidding – she attacked Trump.

“This sacred obligation to defend the peaceful transfer of power has been honored by every American president but one,” she told the adoring crowd.

“Today that role is ours as we face a threat we have never faced before – a former President attempting to unravel our constitutional republic.”

Of course, the JFK Profile in Courage Award has been relegated to a less-than-prestigious honor over the years.

It rewards people for being anti-Trump or anti-conservative which, in a media landscape dominated by liberals, is actually a pretty easy thing to be.

Mitt Romney won in 2021 for his vote to convict Trump in 2020 in the Presidential Impeachment trial. The category for the award was ‘National Interest Over Party.’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won the same category in 2019 … for getting re-elected Speaker by pushing Democrat platforms.

Cheney didn’t win because of national interest over party. Nor did Romney, or Pelosi. The common thread is that all three pushed Democrat, anti-Trump rhetoric that elevated their stature in the eyes of the JFK Library.

The silver lining for Cheney? Once she’s ousted by Hageman in the Wyoming Republican primary, she’ll have plenty of time to sit at home and polish her new little award.

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