OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
House Minority Leader and California Rep Kevin McCarthy just got some fantastic news.
Heading into the new year, where Republicans will be in charge of the House as of this week, a group of his colleagues has vowed to only vote for him.
The Main Street Caucus chair, South Dakota Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson and vice chair, Oklahoma Republican Rep. Stephanie Bice sent correspondence saying that the dozens of members of the caucus will only vote for Rep. McCarthy for Speaker.
“Yesterday Republican Main Street Caucus (RMSC) members met to discuss priorities for the upcoming votes on the House rules package and the election of a Speaker of the House. During that meeting, a strong consensus developed in three areas,” they said.
“1. Members of the Main Street Caucus will hold the line. Kevin McCarthy is best prepared to lead the 118th Congress, and we are prepared to vote for him for as long as it takes.
“2. Two proposed rules changes are problematic. Many in the Caucus expressed strong reservations regarding lowering the threshold on the motion to vacate and on changing Steering Committee criteria to facilitate what some have called “all views on all committees.” Any RMSC concessions in those areas would have to be met with real, tangible, and proven concessions by those blocking Kevin McCarthy’s election as Speaker,” the correspondence said.
“3. We won’t reward chaos. Any RMSC support for rule changes will be taken off the table if Kevin McCarthy is not expediently elected as Speaker of the House on January 3.
“As a group of more than 70 members committed to finding practical conservative solutions, we believe these priorities will ensure the Republican conference hits the ground running on day one of the new Congress.
“Americans elected a Republican Majority to provide a check and balance on the administration and to find solutions to the problems our nation is facing, we can’t do that if we don’t elect a Speaker on January 3,” it said.
This month former President Donald Trump has once again lent his hefty political clout to a GOP candidate – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who is vying to replace fellow Californian and outgoing Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In an interview with Breitbart News in Florida, Trump indicated that it made the most sense to back McCarthy because it would be better for the party and because he believes that McCarthy has earned the opportunity.
“I like him,” Trump said of McCarthy.
Trump’s comments come as some of his allies — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Bob Good (R-VA), and Ralph Norman (R-SC) — are working on selecting someone else other than McCarthy. The former president did not call them out by name, but as noted by Breitbart, he made it clear that he believes there could be major consequences if they somehow blocked McCarthy’s path, which he indicated would be bad for the party.
“I think it’s a very dangerous game that’s being played It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things could happen,” he predicted, warning that when Republicans moved to replace then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2015, they wound up with now-former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who Trump said was much worse.
“Look, we had Boehner, and he was a strange person, but we ended up with Paul Ryan, who was ten times worse. Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he goes down as the worst speaker in history. We took [out] Boehner—and a group of people, some of whom are the same, and they’re very good friends of mine. All those people are very good friends of mine,” Trump said.
Trump is hardly the first major conservative leader to raise these concerns. Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin has raised the concerns, as have people such as Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY)—the incoming chairmen respectively of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. Congresswoman-elect Harriet Hageman of Wyoming, who just defeated outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), has also warned of the concerns.
Trump also expanded on the point of just how bad Ryan was for the party, saying Boehner was like a historic world leader in comparison, and now Republicans have to “live with this maniac” Ryan, who he said is hurting Fox News and the New York Post from his position on the board at the Fox Corporation.
“Think of it—we ended up with Paul Ryan. Boehner was like Winston Churchill compared to Paul Ryan,” Trump said. “Boehner wasn’t perfect—nobody’s perfect—but Paul Ryan was a disaster for the Republican Party. That’s what we got. Now we have to live with him. He’s destroying Fox and he’s destroying the New York Post. We got to live with this maniac.
“This guy, Paul Ryan, couldn’t have gotten elected in his own area of Wisconsin. I went with him after I won the election and we had a tremendous crowd of people and they booed him off the stage. You remember that? They booed him off the stage. This guy is now telling Fox what to do,” he said.
Trump, when asked if he supports the California Republican for the job, said: “Yeah, I support McCarthy.”
“Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard,” Trump said. “He is just—it’s been exhausting. If you think, he’s been all over. I think he deserves the shot. Hopefully, he’s going to be very strong and going to be very good, and he’s going to do what everybody wants.”
The 45th president went on to address the GOP faction working against McCarthy.
“Now, I’m friendly with a lot of those people who are against Kevin. I think almost every one of them are very much inclined toward Trump, and me toward them. But I have to tell them, and I have told them, you’re playing a very dangerous game,” he said. “You could end up with the worse situation. I don’t even want to say what it is, but I could tell you it’s a worse situation. You could end up with some very bad situations.
“I use the Boehner to Paul Ryan example. You understand what I’m saying? It could be a doomsday scenario. It could be. You could end up with somebody who would be a disaster like Paul Ryan was,” he noted further.