Former President Donald J. Trump made a crucially timed call to Representative Matt Gaetz on Friday night after the Florida congressman voted “present” and sunk Kevin McCarthy’s 14th effort to be elected House speaker.
Mr. Trump’s call may have played a role in Mr. Gaetz opting to continue with another round of balloting, along with a small group of other members who had been opposing McCarthy’s candidacy.
Mr. Trump called Mr. Gaetz, according to two people briefed on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. CNN reported that Mr. Trump also called Representative Andy Biggs, who switched from voting against Mr. McCarthy to voting “present” on the 15th round.
A photo taken of members on the House floor showed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican from Georgia and an ally of Mr. McCarthy, holding up her cellphone, with “DT” on the other end, and trying to give the phone to Representative Matt Rosendale, who had voted for a different candidate on the most recent ballot. Mr. Rosendale appeared to brush her off as she tried to hand him the phone.
Mr. Trump’s call into the chamber came on the two-year anniversary of the riot by his supporters to block congressional certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win over Mr. Trump.