But as the the race approaches, and Trump faces two sets of criminal charges over his alleged attempts to steal the 2020 election, the fellow Republicans aren't necessarily allies.
McCarthy was removed from the speakership last month after a handful of Republican rebels he has dubbed as "the crazy eight" voted with House Democrats to boot him from his post. During a phone call weeks after the vote, Trump reportedly told McCarthy why he did not call on Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who led the group of 8 Republicans, to stand down, the Post reported, citing multiple people familiar with the exchange.
Trump during the call criticized McCarthy for not endorsing his 2024 presidential campaign or expunging his two impeachments. McCarthy in response reportedly told Trump “F— you,” though a spokesperson for the former speaker denied to the Post that he cursed at Trump.
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for McCarthy and Trump for comment.
The conversation doesn’t mark the first time the Republicans haven’t been on the same page.
In June, McCarthy said in an interview with CNBC that he believes Trump can defeat Biden in the 2024 presidential election. But he also expressed some doubt that the former president would be the best contender to win back the White House for the Republican Party.
"Can Trump beat Biden? Yeah, he can beat Biden," McCarthy said. "Is he the strongest to win the election? I don't know that answer."
And McCarthy earlier this week warned that if Trump bases his reelection campaign on seeking revenge against his political enemies, he will lose the 2024 race.
“If his campaign is about renew, rebuild, and restore, he’ll win,” McCarthy told New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin. “If it is about revenge, he’ll lose.
McCarthy and his allies last year also had to address audio tapes in which he could be heard saying Trump should have resigned after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The lawmaker had previously denied making the comments.
Trump did help McCarthy win the speakership in January, which required 15 marathon rounds of voting to unite the fractured House Republicans.
But the former president has also been critical of GOP lawmakers, calling on them to impeach President Joe Biden and reject some spending deals. Earlier this year, he urged Republicans to support a government shutdown if they couldn’t negotiate significant spending cuts.
Contributing: Miles J. Herszenhorn and Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY; Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: McCarthy, Trump had explosive call after California lawmaker's ouster