Rep. Kevin McCarthy has already come close to being the House speaker and failed — forced to bow out of a competitive race at the last minute in 2015 amid pushback from conservatives.
He has spent the years since trying to make sure nothing gets in his way the next time around — largely by courting Donald Trump in hopes that his sway over the Republican membership would scare off potential rivals and lock down the votes needed for the biggest prize in congressional politics.
But as Republicans grow more confident that they will secure control of the House in November, McCarthy’s future is suddenly in doubt, his ambitions upended by revelations that he privately insulted a man who demands unstinting loyalty.
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