During a recent interview, former President Trump was hesitant to outwardly support Rep. Steve Scalise for House Speaker after the Louisiana Congressman won the GOP nomination on Wednesday.
Scalise, who is recovering from blood cancer, faces an uphill battle to officially secure the gavel as he can only afford to lose four votes.
Trump, who publicly endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to serve as Speaker, told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on his radio show that he likes both Jordan and Scalise, but that Scalise “is in serious trouble from the standpoint of his cancer.
“I mean, he’s got to get better for himself. I’m not talking about even country now. I’m saying got to get better. And this is tremendous stress. All of the things that you hear about and things that you don’t want to get involved in from the standpoint of getting well,” Trump said in the interview.
The former president said Scalise is going through “very, very serious cancer therapy,” and he also cited the “aftereffect” of the congressman getting shot and seriously wounded in 2017 during a congressional baseball game practice.
“These treatments, they drain you of strength, supposedly,” Trump said. “It’s like a draining of strength. And we need tremendous strength both inside and out, because we have radical left, lunatics like Nancy Pelosi and Schiff and all these crazy people that are so bad for our country.”
Asked if Scalise’s health was the only reason Trump endorsed Jordan for the role, Trump demurred, praising both men. But he also acknowledged the dynamics within the party may make it difficult for either representative to secure enough votes to become Speaker.
“I think it’s going to be very hard, maybe in either case, for somebody to get you know, if you lose four votes, you can’t get it,” Trump said. “I think Steve will lose far more than four, and I think probably Jim will, too. And then you end up in one of these crazy stalemates. It’s a very interesting situation.”