Trump rips Nancy Pelosi and endorses Kevin McCarthy for speaker at House GOP fundraiser
President Donald Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in front of a crowd of top GOP donors and House Republicans during a fundraiser at his Washington hotel.
"We need to win back the House to retire Nancy once and for all," Trump told the attendees Tuesday night, according to one of the organizers. This person declined to be named.
Of the almost 315 donors who attended, each has contributed over $35,000 to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's joint fundraising committee, Take Back the House 2020. Over 115 GOP House members had been expected to attend the event at the Trump International Hotel.
McCarthy introduced the president. The gathering raised $13 million for a committee that will be used to give a boost to Republicans in the next round of congressional elections.
Political analysts, such as Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, show at least 12 Democratic House seats are considered toss-ups in the 2020 election cycle, while only five are for Republicans.
The affinity between House Republicans and Trump was evident in another moment Tuesday night, when the president endorsed the California lawmaker to be the next speaker of the House. Trump, according to the attendee, said he's fully behind McCarthy for speaker and called him "tough, loyal, and smart."
The president also praised Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., as a "great warrior." Nunes is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee that's taking the lead in the impeachment inquiry. He's been a vocal opponent of the investigation since it was announced in September.
Trump also took aim at President Barack Obama for his handling of the captivity of two Americans: Kayla Mueller, who was killed by Islamic State fighters, and Otto Warmbier, who was arrested in North Korea and died after arriving back to the United States in vegetative state.
On the foreign policy front, Trump brought up the death of Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, the ISIS spokesman recently killed in Syria.
The observer at the party noted that Trump "joked that the strike killing Abu Hasan al-Muhajir was so effective and powerful that tires from the truck he was traveling in ended up 6 miles away."
The Trump campaign declined to comment and the White House did not return a request for comment. A political spokesman for McCarthy confirmed the amount of attendees and fundraising totals for the night but declined to comment further. Representatives for Pelosi did not return a request for comment.
Pelosi, D-Calif., authorized the impeachment inquiry against Trump. The focus of the investigation is based on a phone call Trump had with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in early 2019. During that conversation, Trump asked Zelensky to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.