Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy Allies Say He Doesn’t Want White House Job

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “insists he’s not in the running for White House chief of staff. And the California Republican’s allies say the only job he really wants — other than the post he currently has — is speaker of the House,” Politico reports.

“But as embattled White House chief of staff John Kelly fights to stay on in the midst of the Rob Porter scandal, McCarthy has been floated repeatedly as a possible replacement. It’s a replay of what happened when Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus, stepped down in July.”

How Kevin McCarthy Became Trump’s Fixer

Washington Post: “From talks about the midterm elections at Camp David to a strategic interjection at a bipartisan immigration meeting, McCarthy, 52, has sought to position himself as Trump’s indispensable man in Congress, an easygoing Republican who gets him — and likes him.”

“Trump has showcased the relationship and appears to enjoy the fidelity of a high-ranking GOP leader. Before having dinner together Sunday… Trump took questions from reporters under the club portico’s ornate arches, with McCarthy standing beside him. McCarthy — who was in the Oval Office Thursday when Trump used a vulgarity to disparage immigrants — stood stone-faced and quiet as the president declared that he is ‘not a racist’ and asserted that those comments weren’t made.”

“McCarthy is aggressive but hardly alone in his embrace. Many Republicans once thought of Trump as a crude intruder but have since developed relationships with the president to try to guide and influence him.”

Ellmers Addresses Rumors of Affair with McCarthy

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) stood up in a private meeting of Republican lawmakers on Friday and thanked them for their “prayers and support” after they received “nasty emails” accusing her of having an extramarital affair with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Politico reports.

“She did not mention McCarthy by name, detail the content of the emails or provide any other information. Sources close to Ellmers and McCarthy say the accusation is unfounded, and assert that it is being spread by a discredited troublemaker. McCarthy has publicly denied that any personal problems were behind his stunning decision to withdraw from the speaker’s race on Thursday.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It is total confusion — a banana republic. Any plan, anything you anticipate, who knows what’ll happen. People are crying. They don’t have any idea how this will unfold at all.”

— Rep. Peter King (R-NY), quoted by the Washington Post, as he recounted seeing a handful of House Republicans weeping over the downfall of Kevin McCarthy and the broader discord within the Republican party.

McCarthy Never Told Boehner He Would Drop Race

House Speaker John Boehner “seemed to have no inkling on Thursday that his deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was preparing to withdraw from the speaker’s race,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Said Boehner, a few minutes before the vote: “I’m confident he’ll win today and I’m confident he’ll win on Oct. 29.”

“But even as he reflected on his 25-year congressional career and what he might do next, his House Republican conference was thrown into a fresh round of turmoil—one that might even delay the Ohio Republicans departure… Boehner immediately postponed the election, as he and his stunned colleagues scrambled to figure out their next move.”

Time for a Bipartisan Speaker?

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) said that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew from the Speaker’s race “because although he could have won a majority of the Republican Conference, he would not have had 218 votes on the House floor,” the Washington Post reports.

Dent also said it might be necessary to form a “bipartisan coalition” with Democrats to elect the next speaker and avoid having to appease the “rejectionist wing” of his own party, which he said has made the House ungovernable by insisting on “unreasonable demands.”

House Conservatives Spurn McCarthy

“A group of hard-line conservatives threatened to upend the Republican race to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, announcing on Wednesday it will throw its support behind a little-known Florida lawmaker to become the next speaker,” the Washington Post reports.

“The House Freedom Caucus’s backing of Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) ahead of a crucial internal party vote Thursday deeply complicates Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy’s bid to succeed Boehner. The group counts enough members — about 40 — to deny McCarthy the majority of the whole House he would need to claim the speaker’s chair.”

McCarthy Tries to Walk Back Benghazi Comments

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) appeared on Fox News to walk back his comments that House Benghazi Committee was about taking down Hillary Clinton’s approval rating.

Said McCarthy :”This committee was set up for one sole purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families of four dead Americans. Now I did not intend to imply in any way that that work was political. Of course it is not, look at the way they have carried themselves out. The point I was trying to make and I want to be very clear about this, I wasn’t saying the committee was political, that committee is solely to get the truth out.”

But as First Read notes, the Republican Party’s House campaign arm, ran the following fundraising solicitation yesterday: “You’re now a Benghazi Watchdog. Let’s go after Obama and Hillary Clinton. Help us fight them now.” It’s since been deleted.

McCarthy Hands Clinton Gift By Undermining Hearings

Hillary Clinton’s “upcoming appearance before the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi was supposed to be a crucible: a chance for Republicans to prosecute the former secretary of state for her handling of the 2012 terrorist attacks that killed four Americans as well as for her use of a private e-mail server,” the Washington Post reports.

“Instead, it may have turned into a political gift for Clinton following this week’s suggestion by the likely next House speaker, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), that the taxpayer-funded Benghazi investigation was politically motivated. Clinton’s allies say his comments will help recast Clinton’s scheduled Oct. 22 hearing as a partisan inquisition rather than a fact-finding mission about the attacks in Libya.”

“McCarthy boasted in two television interviews on Tuesday that the committee’s work already had achieved a desired result: Clinton’s decline in the polls.”

McCarthy Says Benghazi Committee Has Hurt Clinton

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) credited the House Benghazi investigation for driving down Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings, the Washington Post reports.

Said McCarthy: “Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

McCarthy Has a Lock on Speaker

First Read: “As for the race to replace Boehner, it appears that it’s Kevin McCarthy’s race to lose — McCarthy is currently the No. 2 as House Majority Leader. Both Reps. Steve Scalise and Cathy McMorris Rodgers appear to be running for McCarthy’s job as majority leader. Remember, if Scalise (the majority whip) or Rodgers (the No. 4 in House leadership) loses, they get to keep their current post, so both essentially have a free shot.”

“Meanwhile, it’s interesting that Rep. Jeb Hensarling isn’t trying to make a run for speaker (or even Majority Leader). Is he the Texas Hamlet? Perhaps. But maybe his attitude is to see what happens later this year, especially if McCarthy has to make decisions that could alienate House conservatives.”

McCarthy Promises More Confrontation with Democrats

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), “who is quietly locking down support to be the next House speaker, is privately assuring Republicans he’ll take a tougher stand against the White House — and also the Senate GOP leadership,” CNN reports.

“He’s hearing from members angry that the GOP Congress has not advanced the conservative cause more forcefully, and he’s responding with a clear message: He is willing to take a more confrontational stand with the White House and the Senate to achieve the results the party has sought to enact.”

Wall Street Journal: “The most militant House Republicans are expected to be emboldened by Mr. Boehner’s departure, and even less likely to agree to a compromise with Democrats in setting spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2016.”