In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law. Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection. Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellion, coups, and secession.
Kevin McCarthy lied about what he said privately about the insurrection. For the time being, House Republicans profess indifference to his lies.
At The Dispatch, Declan Garvey and Esther Eaton report on the unfolding Kevin McCarthy story.
But there were some defectors on Tuesday. Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona told OANN yesterday the saga was “incredibly undermining” for McCarthy, and that it resulted in him having a “huge trust issue” with the potential leader. Rep. Matt Gaetz—who’s long harbored disdain for McCarthy—said Tuesday the recordings show the minority leader (and Scalise) to be “weak men.”
Biggs and Gaetz could soon have company, as Martin and Burns dropped another tranche of McCarthy leaks last night, in which the Californian and his fellow leadership members criticized a number of Republicans for their extreme—and inflammatory—rhetoric around January 6. “Our members have got to start paying attention to what they say,” McCarthy warned on a call days after the Capitol attack. “The country is too crazy. … I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of that.”
How many defectors McCarthy will be able to afford depends on how big a majority Republicans win in November. If the margin is similar to what Democrats have in the House now, just a handful of GOP lawmakers could block McCarthy from the speakership—or vote him in, and demand constant concessions in exchange for their continued support. Acting as a bloc in the 115th Congress, the House Freedom Caucus was often able to give then-Speaker Paul Ryan headaches even with a 40-plus member majority.
Jordan—one of the Freedom Caucus’ most vocal members—still backs McCarthy. But others sounded more on the fence. “Everybody is accountable for what they say and do,” Rep. Scott Perry said, offering only that the House Freedom Caucus discussed the border in its meeting last night. The criticism could grow louder—and more explicit—if Carlson keeps up the pressure on his TV show.
“Unless conservatives get their act together right away, Kevin McCarthy, or one of his highly liberal allies like Elise Stefanik, is very likely to be Speaker of the House in January,” he told his millions of viewers. “That will mean we will have a Republican Congress, led by a puppet of the Democratic Party.”