‘They have no alternative’: Bacon says Republican holdouts should back Kevin McCarthy for speaker

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) says those few Republicans who are holding out for someone other than Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for Speaker of the House need to “support the majority” because “they have no alternative.”

(Video: Fox News)

To take the gavel, McCarthy must earn 218 votes — an absolute majority of all votes cast. Although he won the primary with 85% of the vote, members of the Republican House Freedom Caucus (HFC) are throwing a wrench in the works, supporting instead Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and preventing McCarthy from reaching that magic number.

Joining Fox News host Trey Gowdy on “Sunday Night in America,” Bacon torched the holdouts, which include, in addition to Biggs, Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.), claiming they are only helping the Democrats with their resistance to McCarthy.

“Eighty-five percent of the Republicans voted for Kevin McCarthy to be the next speaker,” Bacon said. “Fifteen percent voted for Andy Biggs. By doing what they are doing with five or six people holding out — it just takes five to derail this, because we just need 218 votes roughly to get Kevin McCarthy the speakership — but they don’t even have a viable alternative that they are putting on the floor.”

Bacon said the support for McCarthy has increased since the primary and “about 95 percent are with him.”


“I’ve been a commander five times in the Air Force, I deployed four times — teams win,” Bacon stated. “And when a small number of people go against the team, and it breaks down the team, that’s how you get beat.”

“And by doing what they are doing, they’re helping out [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer, they’re helping out Joe Biden, and they’re helping out [Minority Leader] Hakeem Jeffries with these actions,” he fumed. “And Kevin McCarthy has worked his butt off for four years to get us back in the majority. He’s been in everybody’s district. He has done more for each of us than anybody else has.”

“He deserves this opportunity,” Bacon insisted. “I think he has a great vision, and we’ve got to work as a team to get as much done as we can.”

Neither McCarthy nor Biggs show any signs of backing down.

Biggs has vowed not to drop out, telling CNN, “I’m not bluffing.”

McCarthy told CNN, “I’ll never leave,” adding “I’ll get 218.”

It could lead to multiple ballots, a situation that hasn’t happened since 1923.

In what CNN called a “doomsday scenario,” if neither manages to eke out 218 votes on January 3, Bacon told the outlet the GOP won’t capitulate to the HFC members. Instead, he’ll “work across the aisle” to find a Republican who will.

“Our initial plan is vote for Kevin and let him fight this out repeatedly. … But if they think they’re going to use this to infinity to drive him out, well, we’re not going to bend to their will,” he told CNN.

“If a small group refuses to play ball and be part of the team, then we’ll work across the aisle to find an agreeable Republican,” Bacon stated. “But I hope we don’t get there.”

To Gowdy, Bacon stressed that Biggs has no chance of getting to 218.

“They have no alternative,” he said. “They’ve put Andy Biggs back on the table again for a vote on the floor, but we already know that he had 15 percent of the vote, and it’s going to be less now. Those numbers — some members have coalesced around Kevin McCarthy.”

“Now, they have put some demands out there that they want to negotiate,” he added. “It’s unfortunate to have to do demands within your own party with each other. We’ve already voted on a lot of the issues that they are wanting to change within the conference. They should support the majority and, in this case, the far majority of what they’ve already said they wanted to do.”



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