Emmer ready to govern as House GOP majority whip, not ready to endorse Trump

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Minnesota 6th District Congressman Tom Emmer will be the third Minnesotan to serve as House Republican majority whip, but the first in 100 years.

In an exclusive interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Emmer said he looks forward to serving Minnesota in a national leadership role.

“I say it all the time: What’s good for Minnesota is good for the United States,” he said in an interview from his office in Washington, D.C.

Emmer acknowledges it won’t always be easy to “whip” votes among his narrow Republican majority. However, he says it’s better than the alternative.

“We don’t know what the final number will be,” he said of the GOP majority that grew to the necessary 218 to take control on Wednesday. “It could be as high as 222. The fact of the matter is the majority is the majority and people understand that we have to deliver now. You run to win, but you win to govern, and it’s time to get to work.”

Some political observers predicted Emmer might not win the whip post after a smaller-than-anticipated Republican majority. Emmer says he was rewarded for increasing GOP seats over the past two election cycles.

“We added seats last time when everybody said we were going to lose seats and we added seats this time when everybody else, literally everybody else on the Republican side of the ticket was losing across the country,” Emmer said.

Emmer acknowledges the abortion issue likely hurt Republican House candidates in some districts.

“I think it’s more complicated than one thing or the other, but I think once the dust settles, I think absolutely abortion, the Dobbs decision, played a role and we’ll see what that is depending on the district and depending on the state,” he said.

He also says redistricting likely hurt Republicans more than expected along with some weak statewide candidates in certain states that might have hurt House candidates down the ballot.

Emmer also acknowledges former President Donald Trump’s support for some candidates might have hurt in some districts but overall says Trump was very helpful to the House caucus in fundraising. However, he’s not ready to endorse Trump in his 2024 presidential campaign.

“I was the president’s 2016 campaign chair in Minnesota. We supported the president and his agenda throughout his term in office,” Emmer said. “I look at it this way: We have a big job ahead of us, and I’m going to be focused for the next 45 days to make sure we’re ready to deliver for the American people, and we will support whoever the endorsed candidate is as that process proceeds.”

When the House GOP won the majority on Wednesday, Emmer retweeted a post from the National Republican Congressional Committee that said, “@SpeakerPelosi, you’re fired.” On Thursday he was conciliatory in reaction to Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing she won’t run for a leadership post in the next Congress.

“There are going to be books written about Nancy Pelosi,” Emmer said. “She’s done some amazing things in her career.”

Even though Emmer has secured his spot as House majority whip, the third most powerful position in his caucus, House Leader Kevin McCarthy still needs to win election as speaker in a vote of the entire House in early January.

The only two other Minnesotan Republicans to hold the position of House majority whip were Rep. James Tawney of Winona from 1899 to 1905 and Rep. Harold Knutson of Wadena from 1919 to 1923.