WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., expressed some doubt Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is the best Republican candidate to defeat President Joe Biden and win back the White House next year.

In an interview on CNBC, McCarthy initially said that the former president could beat Biden in November 2024.

“Yes, he can beat Biden,” McCarthy said, adding that “Trump’s policies are better and more direct than Biden’s policies.”

Asked if Trump can win the general election given two criminal cases in which he is the defendant, McCarthy noted that the former president might not be the strongest option.

«Can he win that election? Yes, he can,» McCarthy said. “The question is, is he the strongest to win the election? I don’t know that answer. But can anyone beat Biden? Yes, anyone can beat Biden.»

He did not specify who might be the strongest Republican candidate to win the election against Biden.

McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Trump was recently indicted in a 37-count federal indictment for his handling of classified documents that he brought with him to Mar-a-Lago from the White House. In early April, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg separately indicted him on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his alleged role in hush money payments toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

The Speaker’s comments are notable given his alliance and his longstanding defense of Trump and his actions. Despite McCarthy saying days after the January 6 attack on the Capitol that Trump should «accept his share of responsibility» for the riots, the California Republican visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort a few weeks later. to smooth things over in your relationship.

McCarthy has repeatedly praised and expressed support for Trump, who only endorsed McCarthy as a speaker this year after he failed to secure the gavel in three floor votes.

On Friday, McCarthy told reporters that he supports a proposal by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, to «erase» both lawsuits. politicians against Trump; the measure would be purely symbolic and not binding. McCarthy justified her position by stating that both impeachments «did not have due process.»

“I voted against both impeachments. The second impeachment trial did not have due process.» McCarthy said, noting that he opposed a recent move to impeach Biden. “What was raised this week was that someone wanted to bring Biden’s impeachment to the ground. And I didn’t think that was okay because there’s no due process, right? So shouldn’t you be consistent, especially with the Constitution?»