President Donald J. Trump’s last White House chief of staff told supporters at the April 24 House Freedom Fund reception and dinner at the president’s Palm Beach, Florida resort club Mar-A-Lago why they did not have to worry about House Minority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy (R-CA-23) taking the gavel in the next session of Congress.
“The House Freedom Caucus is choosing the next speaker,” said former North Carolina congressman Mark R. Meadows, as he returned to his seat after his remarks at the fundraiser for the House Freedom Fund’s political action committee–according to a political operative, who attended the event and heard the remark themselves.
Of course, McCarthy and House Republican Conference Leader Rep. Elizabeth Cheney (R-WY) were hosting the annual House GOP retreat roughly a two-and-a-half hour drive north in Orlando–without Trump, who was not invited. Cheney is a relentless critic of Trump’s, who voted to impeach the president in January and continues to call the president a criminal.
In his own remarks that ran a little more than 20 minutes, Trump told the crowd that he was not finished fixing the election irregularities that marred the 2020 presidential election process that resulted in Joseph R. Biden Jr., living in the White House.
The president was introduced by Jordan and was welcomed by the packed ballroom crowd with cheers and applause with many people waving small American flags.
If the problems that plagued the 2020 presidential election is not fixed first, then the Republican Party and conservatives would never get a square shot in 2022, or 2024, he said.
“There was cheating,” Trump said. “Terrible cheating and we’re not going to let them get away with it.”
The president said he is being advised to let 2020 go. “They tell me: ‘Sir, you’ll get ’em next time.'”
Trump said he does not want to give the people who rigged the 2020 election a free pass. “I don’t want to worry about next time, I want to worry about what took place four months ago.”
Meadows first took the national stage when he took down a Speaker of the House
Choosing the next speaker is not an idle boast by Meadows.
Meadows came to political prominence July 28, 2015 when the then-congressman filed a motion to vacate the chair, the effect of the motion if it came to the House floor was to decide whether then-Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH-08) would remain in office.
The motion was filed on the last day before the House adjourned for its August recess and it was dismissed as nonsense if it was considered at all.
However, when House Republicans came back to the Capitol after Labor Day and after spending a month with the folks back home, they were ready to oust Boehner.
Boehner, who was raised Catholic, recognized that he had lost his majority and agreed to step down after if he was allowed to stay on until after Pope Francis’s Sept. 24, 2015 address to Congress.
The next day, Boehner announced his resignation upon the selection of his replacement.
Then-House Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy was the odds-on favorite to succeed his boss, but that was thwarted by Freedom Caucus member Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-NC-03). Jones wrote an open letter to McCarthy asking if there was any scandal in his personal life.
That question alone was enough to force McCarthy out of the running and keeping Boehner in the speaker’s office until Oct. 29, 2015, when he presided over the election of Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-WI-01).
House Freedom Caucus members joined House Freedom Fund event
Joining Meadows as the special guests for the event were: Trump, HFC founder and former chairman Rep. James D. “Jim” Jordan (R-OH-04), current HFC Chairman Rep. Andrew S. Biggs (R-AZ-05), Senate candidate Rep. Morris J. “Mo” Brooks Jr. (R-AL-05), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14), Rep. Scott G. Perry (R-PA-10.) and former senator and Chairman of the Conservative Partnership Initiative James W. “Jim” DeMint.
PICTURED: Trump golfing with staunch ally Jim Jordan after GOP congressman's furious spats with Val Demings and Maxine Waters https://t.co/asEsNc1zKZ
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 26, 2021
Meadows is also a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and is now the vice chairman of the Washington-based CPI.
In the 2020 political cycle, the House Freedom Fund raised $12,654,121 and spent $12,405,824—and remarkably, $10, 828,514, 86 percent of its total haul, went to candidates for federal office and the PAC spent less than $3,000 on payroll.
The presence of DeMint is an important signal that Trump has the backing of the ideological conservative movement, as opposed to the careerist conservative movement. The former South Carolina senator founded the Senate Conservative Fund in 2008 and over the years SCF has backed conservatives in primaries, such as Sen. Michael S. Lee (R-UT), Sen. R. Edward “Ted” Cruz Jr. (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
After the Jan. 6 rally and march in Washington to demand free and fair elections, SCF raised $700,000 for Sen. Josh D. Hawley (R-MO) after his contributors and supporters were targeted for harassment in the media.
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Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based national political reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. In addition to The Star, he has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and national politics for One America News, Breitbart, Human Events and Townhall. Before coming to Washington, he was a staff reporter for Boston’s Catholic paper, The Pilot, and the editor of two Boston-area community papers, The Somerville News and The Alewife. McCabe is a public affairs NCO in the Army Reserve and he deployed for 15 months to Iraq as a combat historian.