President Donald Trump on Saturday said he can twist enough House Republican arms to give Nancy Pelosi the necessary votes to become speaker.
The California Democrat publicly says she has ample support within her own caucus to secure the gavel. But all indications are a floor vote could be close, meaning Republicans could opt — for a list of reasons — to put her over the top.
For Trump, making Pelosi speaker would give him the sense that she owes him legislatively and also ensure that his top campaign-trail foil, who remains intensely unpopular with Republican voters, remains in the headlines through his re-election bid.
“I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House,” he tweeted Saturday morning ahead of a trip to California to visit with people affected by wildfires.
He again wrote that Pelosi “deserves this victory, she has earned it — but there are those in her party who are trying to take it away.”
Ultimately, Trump predicted Pelosi “will win!”
I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House. She deserves this victory, she has earned it – but there are those in her party who are trying to take it away. She will win! @TomReedCongress
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2018
He reiterated his promise to assist Pelosi as he left the White House for California, saying he could get her however many GOP votes she needs, whether it was 100 or 10.
Pelosi said Thursday she intends to win the speakership with Democratic votes and would not accept help from Republicans.
“Oh please, no,” she said. “Never. Never. Never.”
Trump told reporters Saturday that his legal team would submit written answers to questions posed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
“They’re all done,” he said of his responses, which he claimed Friday to have written himself.
He also said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will brief him on Air Force One about the agency’s findings about whether Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump again said he has been told the crown prince was not involved in the assassination, despite reports the CIA has concluded the de facto Saudi ruler gave the green-light to lure Khashoggi to Turkey and then kill him.
Asked about a New York Times report that he is concerned over Vice President Mike Pence’s loyalty, Trump replied: “No, I don’t question his loyalty at all. … It was a phony story. I doubt they had any sources. … He’s been a trooper.”
“Mike Pence is 100 percent,” the president said several times.
Trump said he is not close to picking a nominee for attorney general, but is close to announcing a UN ambassador pick.
Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.Watch: Pelosi Talks Midterm ‘Wave,’ Says She Has Votes for Speakership