Donald Trump made a last ditch phone call to Republicans refusing to back Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker. In a picture from the House, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is seen holding a phone up to fellow Republican Matt Rosendale with the former President on the other end of the line.
The photo taken of members on the House floor showed Ms Greene holding up her cellphone, with “DT” on the other end, and trying to give the phone to Mr Rosendale, who had voted for a different candidate on the most recent ballot.
Mr Rosendale appeared to brush her off as she tried to hand him the phone.
“Don’t you ever do me like that”, he reportedly told the congresswoman.
Mr Trump also called Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, according to two people briefed on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to speak publicly.
He voted “present” and sunk Kevin McCarthy’s 14th effort to be elected House speaker.
On the final ballot, four Republican holdouts – Bob Good, Eli Crane, Matt Rosendale and Biggs – all switched their votes to “present”, giving Mr McCarthy the majority vote he needed for victory.
They joined Mr Gaetz and Lauren Boebert in switching to “present” votes after days of voting for a candidate other than Mr McCarthy.
The final vote tally was 216 for McCarthy, 212 for Democrat Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York and six ‘present’ votes.
After finally winning the votes to become Speaker on the fourth day of asking, McCarthy joked “that was easy, huh?”
“I hope one thing is clear,” the newly elected House speaker said when he finally took the gavel after 1am. “I never give up.”
Crediting Trump for making late calls “helping get those final votes”, McCarthy said, “he was with me from the beginning.”
He then said: “Now, the hard work begins. We’re going to pass bills to fix the nation’s challenges from wide open southern borders, to American last energy policies to woke indoctrination in our schools.
“We will use the power of the purse and the power of the subpoena to get the job done.”
The new Speaker added: “We will also address America’s long-term challenges: the debt and the Chinese Communist Party.
“Congress must speak with one voice on both of these issues.”
During the debate to become Speaker, Gaetz suggested the former President should take the position.
Trump appeared to make fun of the idea in a Truth Social post, posting a photo on Truth Social of himself superimposed into the House speaker chair alongside President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The joke came the same day that the former president was sued by the long-term partner of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died one day after the January 6 Capitol riot.