House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has previously professed his neutrality in the 2024 Republican primary but he just appeared to clearly favor one candidate and disfavor another in a major interview on Sunday.
McCarthy predicted that former President Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination and dismissed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as being "not at the same level" as Trump, according to Fox News.
Those remarks from Speaker McCarthy came during a sit-down interview in the Capitol building with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo that aired on her "Sunday Morning Futures" program.
Asked to weigh in on the possible results of the 2024 GOP primary amid the multiple criminal indictments against former President Trump, McCarthy said, "I think he will be the nominee."
"The thing is, President Trump is stronger today than he was in 2016 or 2020, and there's a reason why. They saw the policies of what he was able to do with America -- putting America first, making our economy stronger," he continued. "We didn't have inflation. We didn't have these battles around the world. We didn't look weak around the world."
Bartiromo interjected to note that Gov. DeSantis appeared to be aligned with a handful of House Republicans who are willing to force a government shutdown in order to block a continuing resolution that will extend excessive federal spending instead of making necessary budget cuts.
"I don't think that would work anywhere. A shutdown would only give strength to the Democrats," McCarthy replied. "It would give the power to Biden. It wouldn't pay our troops. It wouldn't pay our border agents. More people would be coming across" the southern border.
"I actually want to achieve something, and this is where President Trump is so smart, that he was successful in this." he continued. "President Trump is beating Biden right now in the polls. He is stronger than he has ever been in this process."
"And, look, I served with Ron DeSantis -- he's not at the same level as President Trump by any shape or form. He would not have gotten elected without President Trump's endorsement," the speaker added in regard to the former Florida congressman who served in Washington D.C. from 2013 through 2019.
Speaker McCarthy is not wrong to predict that former President Trump will ultimately prevail over all of the other candidates vying for the Republican Party's nomination in 2024, as evidenced by the massive polling lead he has maintained over his rivals.
According to the RealClearPolitics average of primary polls, Trump currently has the support of 56.8% of Republicans compared to 12.6% for DeSantis -- a seemingly insurmountable lead of more than 44% -- while all of the remaining candidates in the field are mired in single-digit support.
McCarthy was also correct to note that Trump now leads President Joe Biden in the polls, albeit just barely and within the statistical margin of error, as the latest RCP average of 2024 general election polls shows Trump with 45.2% support compared to 44.6% for Biden -- a lead of just 0.6 points.
Of course, a lot can change between now and the GOP primary elections early next year, to say nothing of the general election that is still more than a year away.