Marjorie Taylor Greene boasts of ‘perfect phone call’ from Donald Trump amid House speaker crisis

Representative-elect Marjorie Taylor Green boasted of “the perfect phone call” from former president Donald Trump shortly before Kevin McCarthy was elected speaker of the US House of Representatives early on Saturday.

The GOP member elected from Georgia shared a picture of herself holding out her smartphone to colleague Matt Rosendale, with “DT” flashing on the screen, likely referring to the former president.

He could be seen holding his hand out and waving it away, as Ms Greene attempts to hand the phone over to him.

“It was the perfect phone call,” she tweeted at 9.30pm local time.

Earlier on Friday, Mr McCarthy suffered one final humiliation when representative Matt Gaetz withheld his vote on the 14th ballot as midnight approached, prompting a scuffle in which fellow Republican Mike Rogers had to be physically pulled away.

Mr McCarthy’s victory on the 15th ballot brought an end to the deepest congressional dysfunction in over 160 years, one that sharply illustrated the difficulties that he will face in leading a narrow and deeply polarised majority.

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He won at last on a margin of 216-212, finally elected with the votes of fewer than half the House members. Six in his own party withheld their votes as they chose not to back Mr McCarthy as the leader, while also not voting for another contender.

"I’m glad that it’s over," Mr McCarthy told reporters shortly after the vote.

He agreed to a demand by hardliners that any lawmaker be able to call for his removal at any time. That will sharply cut the power that he will hold when trying to pass legislation on critical issues including funding the government, addressing the nation’s looming debt ceiling and other crises that may arise.

"We got the things that are transformational," said Republican representative Ralph Norman, who voted to back Mr McCarthy after opposing him for much of the week.

The Republicans’ weaker-than-expected performance in November’s midterm elections left them with a narrow 222-212 majority, which has given outsized power to the right-wing hardliners who have opposed Mr McCarthy’s leadership.

Those concessions, including sharp spending cuts and other curbs on his leadership, could point to further turbulence in the months ahead, especially when Congress will need to sign off on a further increase of the United States’ $31.4 trillion borrowing authority.

Additional reporting by agencies