Former President Trump has secured endorsements from every member of House GOP leadership, underscoring his enduring strength in the party less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses kick off the Republican primary calendar.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) on Wednesday became the last leadership holdout to publicly back Trump.
Some Republicans viewed it as a sign of Trump’s inevitability as the GOP nominee that House leadership had fallen in line behind him — and as a signal there was little incentive to back a rival and draw the former president’s ire.
“Members are going to back the front-runner,” said Doug Heye, a former Capitol Hill aide and ex-spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. “It’s not as if Trump’s opponents have offered any compelling reasons to support them or not support Trump.”
The House leadership endorsements are reflective of where the conference more broadly stands in the GOP primary race. Trump has racked up dozens of endorsements from House lawmakers, dwarfing the handful of members who have backed rivals Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. In addition to Emmer, Trump snagged endorsements from the remainder of the Minnesota Republican delegation on Wednesday.
The endorsement from Emmer in particular showcases Trump’s ability to dominate the House GOP, even as many Republicans in the Senate are cooler to the former president.
Emmer was the lone GOP leader who did not vote against certifying the 2020 election results. Then, Trump helped derail Emmer’s bid for Speaker in October, charging that the Minnesotan is “totally out-of-touch with Republican Voters” and “spent more time defending Ilhan Omar, than he did me.”
Early last year, Emmer indicated in an interview with The Hill that he might not make any endorsement in the GOP primary.
But after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) endorsed the former president on Tuesday, Emmer stuck out as the only member of House GOP leadership from Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) down to National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) to not endorse Trump — and the majority whip followed suit with endorsing Trump a day later.
Trump acknowledged Emmer’s endorsement with a post on Truth Social: “THANK YOU TOM, I WILL NEVER LET OUR COUNTRY DOWN!
It follows a pattern of Trump compelling loyalty from the House GOP’s top brass.
Over the summer, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during a CNBC appearance said that while he thought Trump could beat Biden in 2024, he did not know if he was the “strongest” to win the election — prompting swift pushback from Trump allies who said that the former president made a mistake in supporting McCarthy for Speaker.
Hours later, McCarthy cleaned up his comments in a statement to Breitbart News, saying Trump is “stronger today than he was in 2016” and is “Biden’s strongest political opponent.”
Johnson, by contrast, explicitly endorsed Trump soon after becoming Speaker.
The endorsements from Emmer and Scalise come with the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses fast approaching and the Trump campaign hoping to make a resounding statement about the former president’s status as the party’s likely nominee.
Trump and his campaign are making a significant push ahead of Iowa with the hope that a runaway victory there will stomp out any potential momentum for Haley or DeSantis.
“President Trump never stops working the phones, and the continued stream of endorsements is a testament to that,” senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said in a statement to The Hill. “Also, there’s a recognition that President Trump is going to win the GOP nomination and the general election.”
“President Trump continues to show why he is the choice of the people and that his campaign is not taking anything for granted,” Miller said. “We will run through the tape and make sure we cover every scenario because we want to ensure a Trump victory on January 15th.”
Still, Trump does not have unified support among House Republicans.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who has endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), dismissed the endorsements from GOP leadership for Trump.
“The default position of Republicans is to go to the least controversial landing spot and to go see where the polls are going to go and go, ‘OK, I’ll land there.’ I don’t think that’s a good way to do things,” Roy told Fox News on Wednesday.
Despite his dozens of criminal charges, Trump is the dominant front-runner in primary polls, leading his rivals by an average of roughly 50 percentage points in national surveys.
The Hill/Decision Desk HQ polling average shows Trump leading the field in Iowa at 51.6 percent support, with DeSantis and Haley at 18 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.