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McCarthy may be speaker, but Trump is the real leader of House Republicans

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After Trump’s pick for speaker narrowly won, what sway will the former president hold over Congress’s Republican majority?

Like an exhausted marathon runner, Kevin McCarthy had just about staggered across the finish line. But even at 2.11am, with tempers frayed and eyes bleary, the newly elected speaker of the US House of Representatives wanted to single out one person for praise.

“I do want to especially thank President Trump,” McCarthy told reporters after prevailing in the longest election for speaker since before the civil war. “I don’t think anyone should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning.”

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