Emmer Drops Speaker Bid After Right-Wing Backlash


Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the No. 3 House Republican, dropped his bid for speaker on Tuesday hours after securing his divided party’s nomination, after a swift backlash from the right, including former President Donald J. Trump, left his candidacy in shambles.

Mr. Emmer’s abrupt exit signaled that Republicans were as far as ever from breaking a deadlock that has left Congress leaderless and paralyzed for three weeks. It made Mr. Emmer the third Republican this month to be chosen to lead the party, only to have his bid collapse in a seemingly endless cycle of G.O.P. grievances, personality conflicts and ideological rifts.

Republicans have now succeeded in rejecting all three of their top leaders over the past few weeks.

The chamber has been frozen for the better part of a month as Republicans feud over who should be in charge, even as wars rage overseas and a government shutdown approaches.

Mr. Emmer began Tuesday with a scant victory, winning an internal party nominating contest by a vote of 117 to 97 over a right-wing rival, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana. The margin reflected that House Republicans were still deeply at odds.

Then immediately after Mr. Emmer’s nomination, about two dozen right-wing Republicans indicated that they would not vote for him on the floor, denying him the majority he would need to succeed in a vote of the full House. And as he met with holdouts to try to win them over, the former president issued a scathing statement on social media expressing vehement opposition to Mr. Emmer, calling him a “Globalist RINO” — short for “Republican in name only” — whose elevation would be a “tragic mistake.”

“I have many wonderful friends wanting to be Speaker of the House, and some are truly great Warriors,” Mr. Trump wrote on Truth Social. “RINO Tom Emmer, who I do not know well, is not one of them. He never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement, or the breadth and scope of MAGA—MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

A majority of those opposed to Mr. Emmer were members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and loyal to Mr. Trump. Any candidate for speaker can lose only a handful of votes and still win the speakership because Republicans hold such a small majority in the House.

Only hours later, he decided to drop his bid, according to a person familiar with his thinking who divulged it on the condition of anonymity before it was officially announced.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Catie Edmondson, Robert Jimison and Kayla Guo contributed reporting.


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