Facebook Twitter Comments Slate Plus

GOP Majority Leader Had a Staffer Pick Out Red and Pink Starbursts for Gift to Trump Because They Are His Favorites

President Trump beside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on January 14, 2018.
President Trump beside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on January 14, 2018.
NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

The Washington Post, on Monday, explored the burgeoning relationship—an intermingled professional and personal rapport—between President Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The California Republican has emerged as a Trump whisperer of sorts, which has led the president to refer to the second ranking House Republican as “my Kevin.” McCarthy’s obsequiousness has endeared him to the president, as has his willingness to squat to speak to the president on his level. During a Camp David retreat last weekend, for instance, McCarthy outlined to Trump the midterm election obstacles facing the party using pictures and charts rather than actual words, an effort the president appreciated two people familiar with the presentation told the Post.

But there was one anecdote in particular in the Post story that summed up the relationship and it revolves around Starbursts.

President Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were alone in the presidential suite on Air Force One, flying east toward Washington in early October, when the president reached for a handful of Starbursts, the fruit-flavored, box-shaped chewy candies.

But instead of unwrapping all of the treats, the president was careful to pluck out and eat two particular flavors: cherry and strawberry, McCarthy noticed.

“Just the red and the pink,” McCarthy recalled in an interview. “A bit later, a couple of his aides saw me with those colors and told me, ‘Those are the president’s favorites.’ ”

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.

Friends, that’s how the sausage gets made in Washington these days. Red and pink Starbursts.

We Need to Talk About Your Ad Blocker

Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker.

Enable Ads on Slate

Want to Block Ads But Still Support Slate?

By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. And you'll never see this message again.

Join Slate Plus
Illustration depicting a colorful group of people using an array of mobile devices