The Potluck

Report: Emmer not Trumpy enough to be U.S. House majority leader

By: - October 5, 2023 8:23 am

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 3: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-MN, talks with reporters as he departs a Republican conference at the U.S.Capitol shortly after the motion to vacate Speaker Kevin McCarthy passes on October 3, 2023 in Washington, DC. The House voted by simple majority to oust McCarthy as speaker, an effort led by a handful of conservative members of his own party, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL. Photo by Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images.

Fewer than 24 hours into his bid for U.S. House majority leader, Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota’s 6th District faces stiff headwinds, according to Time magazine: “A group of (Donald) Trump’s congressional and media allies (have begun) plotting to derail his candidacy.”

Citing “multiple sources familiar with the matter,” the magazine reports that Emmer’s problems stem from perceptions that he is insufficiently loyal to Trump, the one-time game show host who served a single term as president.

Time reports:

Emmer voted to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election. As the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2022, he reportedly implored Republican candidates in the midterms to distance themselves from Trump. And he’s been telling GOP donors that he won’t support Trump’s 2024 presidential primary campaign.

Emmer, whose district includes St. Cloud to the west and Twin Cities exurbs like Andover and Ramsey, is currently the majority whip. His candidacy has come to light following Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s demise as House speaker, setting off a fierce leadership battle. Emmer has endorsed U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the current majority leader, to be speaker.

Perhaps Scalise can provide Emmer some cover as Emmer battles any perception that he has not properly genuflected to the Republican Party boss Donald Trump, who is running to be the GOP nominee while also facing a packed court calendar in the coming year given several indictments on dozens of charges in multiple jurisdictions.

Emmer can point to his early support for Trump, which predates the time Trump’s grip on the party became total.

Dustin Grage, a GOP operative who lives in Emmer’s district, defended Emmer Wednesday on Twitter, though he elided the Trump loyalty test:

“Tom Emmer is literally the reason why House Republicans have a majority,” Grage wrote. (The actual reason House Republicans have a majority is because voters backed them in a majority of districts.)

Grage, who is supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, posted a news release showing that Emmer, as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, broke fundraising records during 2021.

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J. Patrick Coolican
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and two young children