Limited government constitutional conservative Republicans, including 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 incumbent House Minority Leader California Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the new Speaker of the House when Congress convenes today.
While they appear to have the votes to block McCarthy on the first ballot McCarthy got a big boost when former President Donald Trump endorsed him, leaving many conservative Trump supporters wondering if Trump has lost it.
As much as we respect the former President’s accomplishments, personnel has always been one of his weakest areas.
“I like him,” Trump said of McCarthy, before teeing off on those working against him. While Trump did not name those trying to stop McCarthy from taking the Speaker’s gavel on January 3, he in no uncertain terms said he disagrees with their efforts—and warned that there could be serious consequences if McCarthy does not get the gavel and they could make Washington worse for conservatives.
“I think it’s a very dangerous game that’s being played,” Trump said. “It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things could happen. 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.”
But it is very strange that the former President is undercutting the efforts of his “friends” on the Right and throwing-in with the members of the Republican Main Street Caucus (RMSC) who often voted to stymie his agenda.
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, Conservative Brief reported.
“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,” Johnson and Bice said in a statement on behalf of the RMSC.
“Yesterday Republican Main Street Caucus 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, indicating they also found rules changes advocated by conservatives to be problematic.
Members of the Main Street Caucus will hold the line said Johnson and Bice. Kevin McCarthy is best prepared to lead the 118th Congress, and we are prepared to vote for him for as long as it takes.
One of the conservative demands that the Main Street Caucus found problematic is changing Republican Steering Committee criteria to facilitate what some have called “all views on all committees,” which would end the systematic exclusion of conservatives from key committees – such as Appropriations – where only pro-spending establishment Republicans have held sway for decades and all but obliterated Republican credibility as the party of fiscal conservatives
Kevin McCarthy is no conservative, and the way he spent the money he raised for the midterms should disabuse conservatives of the notion that he is a “nice guy” who will try to get along with all the factions of the new House Republican majority.
And his first act as leader of the new majority – reinstituting the corrupt practice of “earmarks” in spending bills – shows Kevin McCarthy intends to be a principle-free inside operator who will not hesitate to use good old fashioned inside-the-Beltway legal bribery to get what he wants.
Trump’s argument in favor of Kevin McCarthy for Speaker amounts to favoring the Devil he knows over the prospect of doing the hard work necessary to elect a saint.
We urge CHQ readers and friends to call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 and tell Republican Representatives that you oppose principle-free California Representative Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House. Tell them you want a conservative Speaker who will fight for conservative principles, not a principle-free insider who will cut deals with Democrats and RINOs.
Rep. Bob Good
Republican House leadership elections
Republican Main Street Caucus