By Sarah Fortinsky and Chandelis Duster, CNN
Former President Donald Trump endorsed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for another term in Congress on Saturday, calling him “an outstanding Representative for the people of California, and a strong and fearless Leader of the House Republican Conference.”
The endorsement comes nearly two months after the release of tapes featuring McCarthy privately bashing Trump in the immediate aftermath of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. The two have maintained a good relationship since that controversy first broke.
It also comes as McCarthy is expected to lead congressional Republicans’ targeted response to the public hearings by the House select committee investigating January 6, which start this week. CNN previously reported that Trump is seeking cover from his allies during the hearings.
“In Congress, Kevin is a tireless advocate for the people of Bakersfield and the Central Valley. He is working incredibly hard to Stop Inflation, Deliver Water Solutions, and Hold Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi Accountable for their catastrophic failures and dereliction of duty,” Trump said in his endorsement. “As Leader, Kevin is building a ‘Commitment to America’ platform to Grow our Economy, Fight Big Tech Censorship, Secure the Border, Strengthen our Military, Defend the Second Amendment, Improve our Health Care, Restore American Energy Independence, Support our Brave Veterans, and Uphold the Rule of Law and American Values.”
Trump and McCarthy praised each other last month at a GOP fundraising event, with the California Republican referring to the former President as the GOP’s’ “secret weapon” and suggesting he could win the White House again, sources who were in the room previously told CNN. Trump also spoke highly of McCarthy throughout his speech at the event, according to sources, saying, “Kevin’s been with me from the beginning.”
Trump on Saturday also announced a series of other endorsements for Republican candidates, including US Sen. Chuck Grassley, Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Reps. Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra — all of Iowa — and US Rep. Tom McClintock of California.
During the fallout earlier this year over his damning and contradictory conversations, McCarthy worked quickly to calm nerves inside the House GOP Conference and prevent a public revolt from his right flank, which could have jeopardized his path to the speakership if Republicans win the chamber this fall.
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CNN’s Sonnet Swire and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.