Appearing for an interview on Newsmax, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) expressed concern that “Democrats can end up picking who the Speaker is” if his critics in the House Republican Conference vote against him for Speaker on the House floor.
“We have to speak as one voice. We will only be successful if we work together, or we’ll lose individually,” McCarthy said on Monday. “This is very fragile — that we are the only stopgap for this Biden administration.”
He added: “If we don’t do this right, the Democrats can take the majority. If we play games on the floor, the Democrats can end up picking who the Speaker is.”
The California Republican completed the first step toward Speakership when he won the House GOP’s nomination for the position earlier this month against freedom caucus challenger Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) in a 188 to 31 vote.
But McCarthy needs 218 votes to be elected Speaker, so he can only afford 4 defections from his own party, and at least five House Republicans from the hard-line conservative wing have publicly said or strongly indicated that they will not vote for McCarthy on the floor, throwing his Speakership bid into dangerous territory.
In a recent interview, Biggs told NBC News that McCarthy “doesn’t have the votes” to become the Speaker and suggested that he is “in Denial.”
“Some of the stages of grief include denial, so there will be some denial and then there’ll be the stage of bargaining where people are trying to figure out … will there be some kind of consensus candidate that emerges,” he said.
All Democrats are expected to vote for their party’s Speaker nominee, expected to be finalized as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) this week.
Watch McCarthy’s interview below:
Kevin McCarthy on Newsmax: "If we play games on the floor, the Democrats could end up picking who the speaker is." pic.twitter.com/NGLNf28vTB
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 29, 2022