Trump meets with McCarthy in Florida to plan GOP House takeover in 2022
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discusses former President Trump's role in the Republican Party going forward on 'America's Newsroom.'
McCarthy, who once said Trump "bears responsibility" for the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, reunited with Trump in Florida for a "very good and cordial" meeting where McCarthy welcomed Trump's support in promoting GOP House candidates in the next election, according to a readout from Trump's team.
"President Trump has agreed to work with Leader McCarthy on helping the Republican Party to become a majority in the House," according to a statement from Trump-aligned Save America PAC. "They worked very well together in the last election and picked up at least 15 seats when most predicted it would be the opposite. They will do so again, and the work has already started."
Former President Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., meet at Mar-a-lago Jan. 28, 2021. (Save America PAC)
McCarthy tweeted after the meeting: "United and ready to win in '22"
McCarthy welcomed Trump's commitment to help elect Republicans in the House and Senate.
"For the sake of our country, the radical Democrat agenda must be stopped," McCarthy said in a statement. "A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms our country was founded on."
An aide familiar with the meeting told Fox News that the meeting was important to move the GOP forward.
"They are catching up as McCarthy will be in the neighborhood," the aide told Fox News. "They’ve been on good terms for a while, and that will be important for the party moving forward."
The Palm Beach confab was arranged after Trump's team heard the GOP leader was fundraising in Florida as part of his effort to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker after the 2022 elections. Trump's team invited McCarthy to Mar-a-lago and McCarthy rearranged his schedule to attend, Fox News learned.
Trump's team alerted the media to the meeting, sources told Fox. Trump has been relatively quiet after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, subsequent impeachment and losing his social media platform on Twitter.
McCarthy believes that everyone should be talking rather than going into their corners, and that includes talking with the Biden Administration as well, sources told Fox News.
Despite GOP losses in the Senate and the White House, Republicans defied expectations in the House by flipping 13 seats from blue to red and winning a 14th seat in Michigan that was held by outgoing Libertarian Justin Amash.
Republicans could potentially pick up a 15th seat in New York in a race between Republican Claudia Tenney and Democrat Anthony Brindisi that has yet to be decided. Democrats currently hold a narrow 221-211 advantage in the House with three vacancies, putting the GOP in a good position to pick up seats during the midterms, which traditionally have favored the party opposing the sitting president.
McCarthy's meeting with Trump Thursday is another sign that Republicans aren't ready to cut ties with Trump, despite the fallout from the Jan. 6 riot that left five people dead. Trump's impeachment in the House garnered just 10 GOP votes, and in the Senate this week only five Republicans joined with the Democrats in voting to proceed with a trial.
McCarthy didn't support Trump's impeachment but said in a floor speech on Jan. 13 that "the President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump."
McCarthy, however, last week said he didn't think Trump's speech before thousands of his supporters before they marched to the Capitol provoked the attack. He made a distinction that he faults Trump for his slow response in rebuking the attack as it was unfolding.
"I don't believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally," McCarthy said at a news conference.
Trump's impeachment trial is set to begin in the Senate the week of Feb. 8.
Fox News' Dana Perino and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.