As the GOP is set to take control of the House in January, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is facing opposition from multiple House Republicans in his speakership bid. Since the midterms, fellow Republican leaders have vocalized doubts about McCarthy being the clear choice for House speaker.
In order for McCarthy to secure the speakership, assuming the GOP ends up with a 222-seat majority in January, he must acquire a minimum of 218 votes, meaning he cannot lose more than four Republican votes. However, at least five House Republicans have spoken out against McCarthy’s ability to be an effective House speaker.
Earlier this month, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R) suggested it wouldn’t be smooth sailing for McCarthy on his path to the speakership. “I would say maybe not so fast,” Biggs said. “Maybe we should have a good discussion within the confines of our internal body.”
“I think we need to have a serious discussion,” continued Biggs, explaining how McCarthy has failed to live up to the party’s expectations. “He’s back-peddled on things like impeachment and, in some ways, that indicates a willingness to be weakening the oversight authority that we need to have and the leverage points we need to have in order to deal with a Democrat president.”
Florida Rep.Matt Gaetz (R) also shared his reservations about McCarthy, saying, “House Republicans need a leader with credibility across every spectrum of the GOP conference in order to be a capable fighting force for the American people. That person is not Kevin McCarthy.”
Gaetz also said, “The coalition against Kevin has already reached critical mass.”
Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale (R) echoed his fellow Republican leaders’ doubts about McCarthy, saying, “We need a leader who can stand up to a Democrat-controlled Senate and President Biden, and unfortunately, that isn’t Kevin McCarthy.”
GOP Representatives Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Bob Good of Virginia have also issued statements denouncing McCarthy as future House speaker.
Another GOP figure who expressed doubts about McCarthy was Russ Vought, the Director of The Office of Management and Budget under Trump. Vought voiced his feelings on McCarthy’s bid for House speaker, saying, “Conservatives will have a difficult (I would say impossible) time explaining a vote for McCarthy back home for many reasons, but mainly for being a peace-time leader when we are in a cold civil war who will manage the GOP away from conflict instead of seizing it by the throat.”
Despite vocal opposition, McCarthy’s team has dismissed the naysayers and confirmed that they are confident in the California Rep’s ability to acquire the position of House speaker.