Maggie Haberman, a New York Times correspondent and CNN analyst, offered insights into former President Donald Trump’s perspective regarding the ousting of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and the subsequent discussion about Trump becoming the next speaker. During an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Haberman shared her understanding of Trump’s approach to the situation, and how he was upset with McCarthy for rejecting his request to expunge his impeachments.
Haberman noted that the trajectory leading to McCarthy’s removal began the previous week when Congressman Matt Gaetz threatened a government shutdown, and Trump appeared to support the idea. This gave cover to Gaetz and others who joined the push against McCarthy. Haberman explained that Trump typically keeps his options open and waits to see where the prevailing sentiment is before taking a stance. She suggested that Trump had not been particularly focused on the situation leading up to McCarthy’s removal.
Haberman also highlighted Trump’s desire to have his impeachments expunged from the record and his expectation that McCarthy would introduce such a measure, which did not happen. This issue seemed more important to Trump than impeachment proceedings against President Biden.
In summary, Haberman described Trump’s approach to the McCarthy situation as initially not feeling the need to intervene, given the evolving dynamics. However, she noted that Trump may have become more interested in the prospect of becoming Speaker of the House as it gained attention, seeing it as an opportunity to remain in the public eye and generate discussions about his political future.
COOPER: Maggie, what do you think about the former President’s not exactly stepping in to help McCarthy?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it was clear, this is where it was headed, Anderson, last week, when Matt Gaetz was threatening a shutdown, and Donald Trump was encouraging a shutdown, and had been for days and days and days.
Whether his intention was to give cover to Matt Gaetz, or not, that is what it did. And it gave cover to other people to join Matt Gaetz, in this push against McCarthy. And so, that is how we ended up here.
Donald Trump will always leave as many options open as possible, so he never has to foreclose anything, and then he can end up on the side of where something is going. That is often how he decides what he’s doing. I think he waited to see where McCarthy was. He didn’t especially feel like waiting in, for all of the reasons we just heard.
And another one, which is that McCarthy? And this, Trump did raise a lot. And frankly, this came up more than the endorsement issue. Trump wanted his impeachments expunged, from the record. He wanted McCarthy to introduce this, and push this. McCarthy did not do that. Impeachment of Biden was less of an issue for Trump than his own record.
And so, you put all of this together. And I think it is true that Trump had not been especially focused on this, in the reason — the days leading up to this. I think he’s pretty focused on it right now.
Because, I think that he sees this as some kind of an activity that he can be talked about in, witness people are talking about him, running for Speaker, which, Donald Trump has a long history of people, running non-organic drafts, for him. This has the same feel. But it’s not surprising to me, because I think that he’s — somebody said to me, close to Trump, last week, he doesn’t think Kevin needs rescuing, now. And I messaged that person today, and said, do you still — does he still think Kevin doesn’t need rescuing? And I didn’t hear back.
But he decided he was not going to invest capital in this. And, I think, he saw where this was headed. And McCarthy’s not good for him, in a primary, of his own. And I think that’s something else that gets missed here.