Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy needs 218 votes to become the next speaker of the House. The California Republican has yet to reach that threshold and with the GOP holding a slim majority of 4 seats, a group of five GOP lawmakers continues to insist that they will deny him the speaker’s gavel — known as the “Never Kevin” cabal, the group questions McCarthy’s conservative credentials and his leadership ability.
The Gang of Five consists of U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Matt Rosendale of Montana, and Ralph Norman of South Carolina. Rosendale appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday and was questioned by host Lawrence Jones about “holding up the agenda of the Republican Party.”
The holdouts are creating plenty of consternation within the GOP caucus, with the counter being that they are preventing the Republican Party from hitting the ground running. As for their part, the five lawmakers are hoping their efforts produce a more suitable candidate once the voting begins — critics argue that this candidate could turn out to be a Democrat if 5 moderate Republicans decide to rebel.
With the vote for speaker set for Tuesday, Jones opened the segment by explaining that McCarthy was floating a rule change that would make it easier for the party to remove a speaker as a concession to his detractors, but Rosendale was not impressed.
“We gave Kevin McCarthy opportunities over the last two years to demonstrate leadership skills whether it was the [continuing resolution], the NDAA, the so-called infrastructure bill, we put him in a position where he could have negotiated some common sense reforms, and he failed on every measure,” he said. “We presented him, many of us did, with rule amendments that we wanted to try and implement months ago and he refused to speak with us –”
“I’m sorry, I’ve got limited time with you,” Jones interrupted, “but you said you presented him all of these different proposals, but you only have another alternative which is Hakeem Jeffries.”
The GOP lawmaker pushed back, claiming that was “blatantly false,” before Jones asked him if he believes the Democratic leader would pursue issues that he cares about.
“Lawrence, you’re pushing a false premise,” Rosendale said. “First of all, Hakeem Jeffries is never going to be speaker of the House. Which six Republicans are going to go over and vote for him, okay? It’s just not going to happen. You’re falling into a big trap.”
When the Fox News host asked his guest who he plans to vote for in place of McCarthy, Rosendale replied that “there are many other highly qualified individuals that are starting to have conversations with many of us about being able to seek the speaker’s position.”
Jones quickly countered that no other candidate has the votes, noting that McCarthy got “an overwhelming majority” in a conference vote.
“Kevin doesn’t have 218 votes,” Rosendale countered. “He didn’t have 210 votes. He didn’t have 200 votes. He didn’t have 190 votes. Kevin doesn’t have the votes. While you in the media continue to focus on the five of us that have been public about our positions, there are many more.”
After reminding Rosendale that there is “only one name” on the ballot for speaker, Jones said: “Your caucus selected a candidate, and it seems like you five are the only ones holding up the agenda of the Republican Party.”
Jones then asked, “Do you feel like you’re doing a disservice to your voters right now, sir?”
“No, I do not. That’s a false premise that you continue to try and support,” Rosendale replied. “There’s more than 5 people, and you can see that as we go into the election on January the 3rd. There was 36 people that voted against Kevin McCarthy on the conference vote. There was another 50, over 50, that actually voted against earmarks while he sat silently and would not oppose them.”
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