Sources close to former President Donald Trump and the House Freedom Caucus are warning that a small group of Republicans resisting Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be the next speaker of the House risk doing serious damage to the party at a critical moment in American history.
The push for McCarthy, a California Republican currently serving as House minority leader, to succeed current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi comes after Republicans won a slim majority in the House of Representatives during the last month’s midterm elections, 222 seats vs. 213 seats won by Democrats.
McCarthy is widely viewed as the Republican choice best able to bring together his party’s various factions. A consensus builder is critical given that the GOP eked out a slim, 222-213 majority in last month’s midterm elections.
The remarks from those The Daily Wire spoke to come as Trump himself has personally reached out to some lawmakers telling them to stop playing games and to get behind supporting McCarthy, calling him “My Kevin.”
The small group of Republicans who have come out publicly against McCarthy include Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ).
Several other Republicans have raised concerns or have not yet committed, including: Rep. Scott Perry (R-CA), Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Rep.-elect Eli Crane (R-AZ), Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN).
One Republican source on Capitol Hill who spoke with The Daily Wire on Thursday afternoon said that the main reason that the 12 House Republicans were opposing McCarthy was mostly because they wanted attention or they held some sort of a personal grievance that was small compared to the matter at hand.
“Too many career politicians have used the America First movement as a springboard to ‘Me First,’” said a senior Trump World official. “This entire effort isn’t about policy or principle, it’s about a small group of politicians wanting the limelight at the expense of the movement.”
A former senior Trump White House official close to the Freedom Caucus told The Daily Wire that resisting McCarthy at this moment in time had the potential to damage the party moving forward.
“I hope the Freedom Caucus guys get concessions from McCarthy, but if they get what they want and still oppose him, then it will be clear that this never had anything to do with principle,” the source said. “If they take this circus to the House floor, it has the potential to damage the entire party at a time when we should united and laser focused on investigating the s*** out of the Biden Administration.”
A longtime conservative activist told The Daily Wire, “We all want House Leadership to be as conservative as possible, but after seeing Gaetz publicly float Steve Scalise as a potential Speaker, I now question whether this is really about principle or actually just about petty, personal grievances.”
“Scalise was the only member of House Leadership who refused to support Harriet Hageman against Liz Cheney, so how could any principled conservative want to see him as Speaker?” the activist question.
A source close to Mark Meadows and the Freedom Caucus said that the notion that any of the 12 Republican holdouts could become Speaker was sheer lunacy.
“Anyone who thinks House moderates would ever kowtow to Biggs and Gaetz and support a Speaker to the right of McCarthy is living in a fantasy land,” the source said. “The reality is that any alternative to McCarthy will end up being far worse for conservatives. McCarthy may not be perfect, but from elevating conservative rockstars like Jim Jordan to leadership positions to explicitly opposing any form of amnesty for illegals, he has proven himself to be a much stronger conservative than previous GOP leaders like Paul Ryan or John Boehner ever were. The Freedom Caucus lost its way the day that Mark Meadows left congress.”