Kevin McCarthy (Getty/Jim Watson)

Republicans are trying to get on Trump's good side — with candy

The GOP is using Trump's toddler-esque sweet tooth to get on his good side


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Jeremy Binckes
January 15, 2018 8:19PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump is a very serious leader. He's, like, a very stabile genius who can handle the intricacies of the political landscape. And he really likes it when friends in Congress bring him candy.

According to a report from The Washington Post, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, used candy to get on Trump's good side. After seeing Trump dig through a bowl of Starbursts and eat just the cherry and strawberry, McCarthy had an idea:

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Days later, the No. 2 Republican in the House — known for his relentless cultivation of political alliances — bought a plentiful supply of Starbursts and asked a staffer to sort through the pile, placing only those two flavors in a jar. McCarthy made sure his name was on the side of the gift, which was delivered to a grinning Trump, according to a White House official.

The gesture may harken back to President Ronald Reagan's affinity for jelly beans, of course, and it worked for Trump, who made headlines when he got two scoops of ice cream for dessert while Time reporters were only given one.

But, as the Post noted, there was more than just the savoring of a sweet tooth. And while the nugget would open up the Trump camp to ridicule, it serves a purpose in trying to warm up to the president.

The move also underscored McCarthy’s singular role as Trump’s friend and fixer over the past year — a courtship of backslapping and flattery that has led to eye-rolling among Democrats and skeptical Republicans.

From talks about the midterm elections at Camp David to a strategic interjection at a bipartisan immigration meeting, McCarthy, 52, has sought to position himself as Trump’s indispensable man in Congress, an easygoing Republican who gets him and actually likes him.

McCarthy's paternalism was on display last week, when he interjected to correct Trump when the president was holding his on-camera bipartisan immigration meeting. When Trump said that options, including a "clean" DACA bill, were on the table, McCarthy interjected and clarified Trump's position to him.

As Trump continues into his presidency, it's telling that one man is fixing himself to be the main man for Trump in Congress. It remains to be seen how much influence he'll hold going forward.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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