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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blasted the five “Never Kevin” Republicans who are refusing to support California Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid for the position of Speaker of the House. Appearing on Fox & Friends Monday, Gingrich predicted “chaos” will ensue if they fail to change their minds:
I don’t understand what they’re doing. They’re not voting against Kevin McCarthy, they’re voting against over 215 members of their own conference
Their conference voted overwhelmingly, 85%, for McCarthy to be speaker [in November], so this is a fight between a handful of people and the entire rest of the conference.
The Never Kevin Caucus is comprised of GOP Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Matt Rosendale of Montana, and Ralph Norman of South Carolina. The group is promoting Biggs for the speakership role.
The 79-year-old Gingrich served as House speaker from 1995 to 1999 during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The vote for speaker is expected to take place Tuesday. As RedState’s Joe Cunningham reported Monday, McCarthy agreed to several concessions with his opponents (including a provision that would make it easier for members to remove the speaker), but is still facing a tough battle as nine members in addition to the Never Kevin group say the concessions are not good enough.
McCarthy needs 218 votes, and can only afford to lose four Republican members. Newt thinks that would be disastrous:
“The result is going to be: Anybody who tried to replace Kevin would face total chaos. It will be impossible to govern. So I hope in the next 24 hours that this handful of members will realize they don’t have the moral right to reject the choice of 85% of their conference,” he said, adding that those in opposition are in a “short-sighted position.”
“You have to say to yourself, if you got somebody to give him everything he asked for, and he still says no, is the problem him and not McCarthy?” Gingrich said about Good, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
Bob Good, however, thus far refuses to budge:
”There’s nothing about Kevin McCarthy that indicates that he will bring the change that’s needed to Washington or that’s needed to the Congress, or he’ll bring the fight against the Biden-Schumer agenda and represent the interests of the voters who sent us to Washington to bring real change,” he said.
“He’s part of the swamp cartel,” GOP Rep. Bob Good said of McCarthy and predicts on Fox that 10-15 Republicans will vote against McCarthy tomorrow. He says there will be a new candidate who emerges on the second ballot. “You’ll see that name tomorrow on that second ballot.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 2, 2023
The stakes are obviously high for Tuesday’s vote, and the atmosphere is tense. Predictions of what will happen if McCarthy loses are all over the map, but the truth is, nobody knows precisely what would transpire and who would be the next speaker. McCarthy has many supporters, but also a lot of detractors among conservatives who feel that he didn’t do enough to help the midterm effort and that he is more concerned about his own power than he is about Republican values.
Even if he’s not perfect, though, even less perfect would be a drawn-out, nasty GOP battle that would weaken the party as a whole. Such an outcome would ruin the one positive thing that came out of the Red Trickle: the Republican majority in the chamber.
Republicans have shown a remarkable ability to screw things up, even when they should have the upper hand, so don’t be surprised if they make more of a mess of this than they already have.
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