Hard feelings over the dragged-out process leading to Kevin McCarthy’s speakership as conservative holdouts applied pressure to win hard-fought concessions could linger for a while with some GOP House members., One of them appears to be Congresswoman Nancy Mace who is threatening to oppose rules changes and is nurturing a serious grudge against Rep. Matt Gaetz who battered the new speaker throughout the week.
The South Carolina Republican joined host Margaret Brennan on CBS Sunday morning flagship “Face the Nation” where she refused to commit to supporting the new rules package and aired her grievances against Gaetz and freshman Rep. George Santos, an easy target for Democrats after he was accused of fabricating parts of his life story.
After praising the ability of McCarthy to be a unifier, Mace said, “democracy is messy.”
“It looked kind of like an unnecessary and prolonged food fight last week. And I agreed with many Americans who thought that. I came home this weekend and listened to folks of all sides. I represent a very purple district. I have all sides to serve. And there was a lot of frustration with the prolonged and unnecessary food fight that we had this week. But you saw democracy on full display. And I think that’s healthy to have that kind of debate. I’m glad that it’s over and we can move forward,” she added.
Pressed by Brennan on whether she really meant dysfunction and not democracy, Mace touted herself as the “new Nancy in the House” while likening the Freedom Caucus holdouts to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “what I saw last week was a small faction of the 20 who were acting just like the old Nancy, trying to cut backroom deals in private and secret without anyone knowing what else was going on.”
“So, my question really is today is, what backroom deals were cut, did they try to cut, and did they get those? Because we shouldn’t be operating like Nancy Pelosi, this small faction. And they’re the ones that are saying they were — quote — “fighting the swamp,” but then yet went and tried to act like, you know — like, they actually are the swamp by trying to do these backroom deals,” she said.
(Video: CBS News)
“Are you saying that you’re going to withhold your vote on those published agreements until you know what these backroom deals were?” Brennan asked after Mace claimed that there were a “small handful of individuals in that 20 who were trying to cut deals in secret, and not letting anybody else know about them.”
“I am considering that as an option right now,” the congresswoman answered, leaving open the possibility that she would create more discord over the rules package which is set to be voted on as the 118th Congress gets to work on Monday.
Sunday morning hosts who don’t even bother to hide their pro-Democrat bias were clearly trying to bait Republican lawmakers into being critical of each other, particularly those who resisted the coronation of McCarthy and the ambitious Mace was happy to oblige after Brennan steered the conversation toward specific members of the Freedom Caucus.
“You have called Matt Gaetz, one of its members, a political D-lister and a fraud. You have sparred with Marjorie Taylor Greene. I will show our viewers part of that and let them interpret your meaning,” Brennan said. “How are you going to work with these folks to get anything done for the American people?”
“It’s going to be very difficult,” Mace answered. “Matt Gaetz is a fraud. Every time he voted against Kevin McCarthy last week, he sent out a fund-raising e-mail. What you saw last week was a constitutional process diminished by those kinds of political actions. I don’t support that kind of behavior.”
At the end of the segment, Brennan turned to Santos, the media’s favorite whipping boy, “How can you work with someone like that? And does he need to be removed from office?”
“It’s very difficult to work with anyone who cannot be trusted,” Mace responded. “And it’s very clear his entire resume in life was — was manufactured, until a couple of days ago, when he finally changed his Web site. It is a problem. If we say we can’t trust the left when they aren’t telling the truth, how can we trust our own?”
A completely different take was given by Rep. Elise Stefanik who said that while the road to McCarthy’s election as speaker of the House may have been rocky, in the end, it brought GOP House members together.
The New York Republican appeared on Fox News where she chatted with host Trey Gowdy on the latest edition of “Sunday Night in America With Trey Gowdy,” putting a positive spin on a very difficult week.
(Video: Fox News)
“I think it’s important to highlight that Republicans ultimately came together and elected speaker Kevin McCarthy, and Kevin McCarthy showed grit, he showed perseverance, and he showed an ability to find that common ground of Republican members who were pretty dug in three days before he was elected as speaker,” she said. “And I think what Kevin’s leadership shows there are important issues that impact the American people every single day and we are ready to get to work.”
“So, it was messy, it was certainly unprecedented, it was an unbelievable experience to be on the floor and be the House Republican conference chair, but ultimately we came together,” she added. “And there were lots of member conversations and importantly, the rules package, which is important for the American people to know, we are restoring a people’s House, making sure that it’s not leadership top-down but members bottom-up that every member of Congress has a voice representing their district.”
“So I’m looking forward, we are unified in making sure that we focus on our commitment to America,” she said. ”
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