The Washington Post reported on Friday that Republican House members have become angry with their leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and that they have been discussing whether or not he should stay as House Minority Leader if Donald Trump is defeated in November.
According to The Post, at least ten Republicans have been looking at ways of getting rid of McCarthy over his devotion to Trump. Many are also angry that he stood by and allowed Marjorie Taylor Greene, “a fringe House candidate in Georgia who espouses the QAnon conspiracy theory” to win in a recent primary which has embarrassed many Republicans.
According to the report, House Republicans are furious that McCarthy refused to throw the party’s full support behind her opponent and then phoned her “in an apparent peace accord before the primary, while Trump embraced her on Twitter this week as a ‘future Republican Star.’”
“A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference,” The Post reports. “According to interviews with more than 10 House Republicans — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank — some GOP lawmakers are worried that McCarthy has tied the conference too much to Trump, refusing to stand up to the president or act as a buffer to distinguish the conference from him.”
One specific point that has rankled GOP House members was McCarthy’s failure to protect them from a demand from Trump’s campaign that they “donate to the president’s reelection effort.”
According to Doug Heye, a former House GOP leadership aide, “There’s no doubt that McCarthy is a Trump loyalist, through and through. I think the challenge for everyone in the Republican conference is, at some point there will be a post-Trump world — whether that’s coming in three months or later. What direction does the party go?”
One House member, who asked to remain anonymous was a bit more blunt, saying McCarthy “does nothing but lick Trump’s boots. That’s all he cares about — so no, it’s not helpful.”
McCarthy’s fate is not only tied to Trump’s, but also to whether Republicans lose more House seats, with one Republican saying, “He becomes damaged goods [if Trump loses], but it could be offset if he is successful in helping the GOP conference win back a bunch of seats. But if we lose . . . the Republican conference is probably going to be looking for something different in leadership.”
One Republican was shocked that McCarthy would stand by Trump as he has.
“He changed and became fully committed on the Trump train,” they explained. “Kevin has never been a conservative guy; he’s one of the most moderate guys in the House if you look at his voting record. But all of a sudden there was this metamorphosis where it was ‘Everything Trump.’ And look, there’s high-risk, high-reward with that.”
“In May, despite Trump’s massive war chest breaking records, McCarthy worked with the Trump campaign on a plan to get House Republicans to donate to the president’s reelection. A few weeks later, news broke that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 42 most vulnerable members had an average 5-to-1 cash advantage over their GOP opponents, while 30 Democratic challengers outraised their Republican opponents in the second quarter of 2020 — putting Democrats in a prime position to grow their majority,” the Post reports. “Some GOP members were livid, wondering why they were called on to help fund the well-oiled Trump money machine when some of their own were in trouble.”