Then-President Donald Trump (R) speaks as he is joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4, 2019, in Washington.
CNN  — 

Many people expressed shock that Donald Trump didn’t flip out or disown Kevin McCarthy when The New York Times reported that the House minority leader had said he planned to tell the then-President to resign in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Now we find out why.

“He has Trump’s loyalty, and Trump believes that he has an even stronger hold on McCarthy now,” one person close to the former President told CNN.

See, the key to understanding what Trump does – or doesn’t do – is to this: Everything is purely transactional.

Trump does not operate on a scale of morality. He is entirely driven in his day-to-day decision-making by what he perceives to be good for him. People – and relationships – are solely a means to that end.

Which brings us back to McCarthy – and to Trump’s judgment that the House GOP leader is worth more to him politically alive than politically dead.

Trump knows that if he unleashed his fury on McCarthy for saying one thing in public and another in private that he could almost certainly end the California Republican’s aspiration to be speaker of the House.

And more importantly, Trump knows that McCarthy knows it too. As in: McCarthy is very well aware that a simple thumbs down for Trump could end it all for him.

That fact will, in Trump’s way of thinking, ensure that McCarthy never crosses him – in public or private – again. McCarthy owes his political future – or the possibility of even having a future – to Trump. And Trump will ensure that McCarthy never, ever forgets that.

The Point: Always remember that Trump sees everyone – EVERYONE – as a pawn to be played to benefit him. McCarthy just handed him an invitation to do just that.