Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is clearly not over the move by some of his colleagues to oust him from the leadership position and unloaded in a fiery interview with CNN.
“McCarthy, who has kept his powder mostly dry since Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana won the speakership after a chaotic 22-day episode following his ouster, made clear Thursday that he hasn’t forgotten about the eight Republicans who voted to make him the first speaker in history to lose his job by a vote on the floor,” CNN’s Manu Raju, who interviewed the California Republican, reported.
McCarthy held nothing back as he fired back at his critics, suggesting the GOP would be better off without Rep. Matt Gaetz who led the charge against him, and that Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina should not be reelected. The full interview is set to air Sunday on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”
New — Spoke to Kevin McCarthy. Had some choice words for “crazy eight” Rs. Said GOP won’t “ever heal” unless there are “consequences”
Said GOP would benefit “tremendously” if Gaetz wasn’t in House.
And says Nancy Mace doesn’t deserve to win reelect.
Full intvw: 11aET Sunday pic.twitter.com/7xCBKi5HjL
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 9, 2023
“Matt Gaetz, you’ve been mentioning a lot. How much would the Republican Party benefit if he were no longer a member of the House, in your opinion?” Raju asked McCarthy about the Florida congressman.
“Oh, tremendously. I mean, people have to earn the right to be here, and I just think… I mean, he’ll admit to you personally he doesn’t have a conservative bent in his philosophy, and just the nature of what he focuses on,” McCarthy replied.
When asked if the House GOP “should consider expelling him,” the lawmaker said, “That’s up to the conference. But I mean, I don’t believe the conference will ever heal if there’s no consequences for the action.”
Gaetz fired back at his GOP colleague during a segment on his “Firebrand” podcast.
“Mr. former Speaker, thoughts and prayers as you’re going through all your stages of grief,” Gaetz said after reading the interview comments on air. He went on to call out McCarthy for mocking prayer, saying if he engaged in some himself he would have “better peace and comfort.”
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 9, 2023
Continuing the CNN interview, McCarthy expressed surprise that Mace and Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett had come alongside Gaetz in the effort to remove him, telling Raju that their votes “seemed out of nature” and that they seemed to have “changed during that time.”
“They care a lot about press, not about policy. So they seem to just want the press and the personality,” he said.
“Do you think Mace will have a difficult time winning reelection now?” the CNN correspondent asked about the congresswoman who will be running for her third term next November.
“Yeah, I will, not because of this. I mean, if you’ve watched her, just her philosophy and the flip-flopping. Yeah, I don’t believe she wins reelection. I don’t think she’ll probably have earned the right to get reelected. I think you look at the district herself,” McCarthy replied.
Mace responded to the criticism by calling out McCarthy’s lies.
“I mean, this was a guy who lied all the time, like every day. I mean, he told conservatives he was absolutely gonna impeach Joe Biden. Two hours later, the same day, told moderates that he would never impeach Joe Biden, a guy like that can’t lead our country. And we’ve moved on to a much better speaker who’s honest and trustworthy and is going to tell the truth,” she told CNN.
Meanwhile, Burchett reacted to the former speaker’s comments by saying McCarthy was “bitter.”
“He’s angry and I’m sure he’ll be angry for the rest of his life, but I always, when people do something like he did I always wonder why they don’t look at themselves,” Burchett said, according to Raju. “It’s always that they’re gonna blame somebody else.”
“He’ll enter into a successful job in lobbying.” he added.
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