McCarthy listens on as Fox News reporter breaks down how Dem Hakeem Jeffries could end up Speaker

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s road to the speakership for the incoming GOP majority remains blocked by a number of lawmakers who continue to oppose his leadership, potentially resulting in the nightmare scenario of a Democrat replacing Nancy Pelosi.

In what had to be an uncomfortable moment for the California Republican, Fox News senior congressional correspondent Chad Pergram broke down how resistance to McCarthy could result in election denier Hakeem Jeffries becoming the next Speaker of the House as he listened on.

During Thursday’s edition of “The Story,” anchor Martha MacCallum told viewers that McCarthy was on the set before cutting to Pergram to open the segment with his explanation of how the one bright spot of the largely disappointing midterm elections with Republicans retaking the House could go sour.

“Here’s the key, the winning candidate must secure an outright majority of all members voting for someone by name,” Pergram said. “McCarthy opponents contend 20 members oppose his bid for speaker,” before cutting to Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona who is mounting a challenge to McCarthy becoming Speaker.

(Video: Fox News)

“It’s clear Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have 218, he’s not gonna have 218, the sooner that we get past the denial and the anger stage and move right on through depression and into acceptance that it’s not going to be Kevin McCarthy and we can consider openly other candidates who can build the coalition to 218 the better off we’ll be,” Biggs said as he dug in against McCarthy.

“Let’s run the math in a hypothetical scenario,” Pergram said.  “The House starts with one vacancy. The GOP will have 222 members next year. If all 20 McCarthy opponents vote ‘present,’ that means McCarthy only gets 202 votes. If all 212 Democrats vote for Hakeem Jeffries, he becomes speaker.”

“Jeffries secured an outright majority of all members who voted for someone by name,” he said while adding that it was “unlikely” to happen and that by the time that the alphabetical roll call of the vote plays out, some of McCarthy’s opponents could get cold feet. “We often say it’s about the math, but this is about parliamentary algebra, we don’t know the number needed until the vote is complete. It’s not necessarily 218.”

MacCallum then turned the floor over to McCarthy after asking, “When Chad does that report and he runs that math and he talks about Hakeem Jeffries becoming the speaker of the House, what’s going on? Are you getting butterflies over there?”

“No, no. We will get there. Look, we had our primary where Andy Biggs ran against me just a couple weeks ago and we won 85% of the vote,” he said.

“I think what’s happening now is negotiations, that people want to see certain changes and we’re working through that,” he added, expressing optimism that he could bring Biggs and others on board.

Meanwhile, seven more members of the House Freedom Caucus sent a letter to colleagues threatening to join the opposition to McCarthy unless there are concessions.

“The American people send us to Washington to do what we said we would do — namely, to limit spending and fight to advance a conservative agenda,” the lawmakers, led by Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas wrote. “We must organize ourselves to ensure there is a ‘check’ on the swamp and reform the status quo.”

“Leader McCarthy is a friend, and I’ve established a good working relationship with him over the past two years as the freshman representative to the Elected Leadership Committee,” Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia told Fox News Digital. “While I continue my consideration of who I will vote for, the items presented are simply what I expect and require for anyone seeking the responsibility of serving as Speaker — as accountability of the Speaker to the membership is paramount.”

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Chris Donaldson


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