‘The choice is Kevin McCarthy or mayhem’: Newt Gingrich tears up Republicans and throws a wrench in speaker’s vote who don’t have the ‘moral right’ to oppose him
- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is backing House GOP Leader McCarthy
- He is among several deputies who have campaigned for McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker of the House, his second in seven years
- Gingrich said the GOP holdouts from McCarthy’s bid were “selfish” and “short-sighted.”
- McCarthy told reporters Monday Tuesday was a “good day.”
Newt Gingrich said Monday that a small group of congressional Republicans opposed to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy do not have the “moral right” to derail his bid for the speaker’s gavel.
Gingrich, himself a former House Speaker, gave McCarthy’s bipartisan campaign an 11-hour boost during a Fox News interview, just a day before the GOP will vote on who will lead its new House majority.
The start of this majority without a consensus on its leader – and a very public dispute on the matter – has gotten the GOP off to a rocky start.
Gingrich warned that not electing McCarthy could plunge both Congress and the country into “chaos”.
McCarthy’s allies have spent weeks trying to persuade his critics, mostly conservatives to his right, to rally behind the California Republican. But they want concessions that moderates in the party — and, until recently, McCarthy himself — were unwilling to make.
With just a narrow majority of 222 seats in the 118th Congress, McCarthy can afford to lose no more than four votes to win the Speaker’s office.
“This is a battle between a handful of people and the entire rest of the conference,” Gingrich said Monday. “And they say they have the right to screw things up.”
“The choice is Kevin McCarthy or Chaos. And there is no one who will replace Kevin because he has a lot more people totally devoted to him than this handful of infinites.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News Monday morning to give GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s own bid for the Hammer an 11-hour boost
Gingrich suggested that it was impossible for a replacement to rule under the circumstances put forward by McCarthy’s conservative holdouts.
McCarthy agreed to the most controversial of them, the motion to vacate the presidency, which under currently proposed rules would allow all five House Republicans to demand a vote for a new speaker.
Moderates argued that this would fuel instability within the conference, likening it to hanging a sword of Damocles over the party leader’s head.
Hours before Gingrich’s appearance on Fox News, GOP Rep. Bob Good of Virginia — part of the original “Never Kevin” group of five Republican lawmakers who led the opposition to McCarthy — told the network that as many as 15 Republicans opposed him loudspeakers would have voted.
Gingrich said of her opposition, “I hope that in the next 24 hours these handful of members will realize that they do not have the moral right to oppose the election of 85 percent of their conference.”
With just 222 Republicans in the new Congress, McCarthy can afford to lose just four votes to still be elected speaker
“I think it’s a remarkably short-sighted and frankly selfish position and I don’t see where they’re coming from. McCarthy agreed to every policy they asked for,” a frustrated Gingrich continued.
“These five guys decided to go kamikaze and see if they can’t sink the whole Republican Party – they do.”
Gingrich himself arguably owes his position as speaker to a party shift that ousted the late Republican leader of the moderate House of Representatives, Bob Michel, in favor of Gingrich’s brand of brash, bombastic politics.
McCarthy himself appeared confident on Monday, telling reporters, according to CNN, “I think we’re going to have a good day tomorrow.”
He’s had a wide array of deputies trying to persuade the holdouts in recent weeks, from traditional conservatives like Gingrich to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an ally of many of McCarthy’s biggest critics.
Even Donald Trump backed McCarthy’s bid for the gavel. But her strategy of pressuring critics to conform and warning that a worse alternative was on the horizon seemed to do little to move the needle.
On Monday night, a group of nine current and incoming House Republicans signed a letter calling McCarthy’s announcement of concessions “almost impossibly late.”
They did not say how they intend to vote on Tuesday.
“For someone with 14 years in the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, Mr. McCarthy bears the burden of correcting the dysfunction he is now explicitly acknowledging during this long tenure,” the letter reads.