Did McCarthy Open the Door for MAGA Republicans to Block His Speaker Bid?

The brand new Republican majority within the Home of Representatives was thrown into chaos Tuesday as a gaggle of far-right lawmakers prevented GOP chief Kevin McCarthy from changing into speaker, blocking him in three rounds of voting. That is the primary time in a century that the method has gone past the primary spherical. Voting for a brand new speaker is about to renew Wednesday. McCarthy wants 218 votes to develop into speaker, however with a razor-thin Republican majority of 222 representatives, the roughly 20 right-wing holdouts have primarily floor congressional enterprise to a halt till a speaker is chosen. “Precisely what they’re preventing for is type of unclear. They solely know what they’re preventing in opposition to,” says New York Occasions employees author Robert Draper. We additionally communicate with The American Prospect’s David Dayen about how Republicans are trying to remove congressional employee unions.


This can be a rush transcript. Copy will not be in its remaining kind.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Struggle and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

We start right now’s present on Capitol Hill, the place far-right lawmakers have blocked Kevin McCarthy’s preliminary makes an attempt to develop into speaker of the Home. In a dramatic day on Tuesday, the Home held three votes to select a brand new speaker. McCarthy fell more and more in need of securing the wanted 218 votes, despite the fact that Republicans now maintain a slim majority within the Home. On the primary two ballots, 19 Republicans opposed McCarthy. On the third poll, the variety of defectors elevated to twenty. This marks the primary time since 1923 — 100 years in the past — that voting for speaker went past the primary spherical. Throughout the historic second spherical of votes, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan nominated Kevin McCarthy for Home speaker for that historic second poll Tuesday. And after this, Republican Matt Gaetz rose to appoint Jim Jordan as an alternative.

REP. MATT GAETZ: I rise to appoint probably the most proficient, hardest-working member of the Republican convention, who simply gave a speech with extra imaginative and prescient than we have now ever heard from the choice. I’m nominating Jim Jordan.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Gaetz is the topic of an ongoing Justice Division probe into allegations he was concerned in intercourse trafficking, prostitution and statutory rape. After the third vote, the Home voted to adjourn till right now at midday.

CHERYL JOHNSON: The tellers agree of their tallies that the overall variety of votes solid is 434, of which the honorable Hakeem Jeffries of the state of New York has acquired 212, the honorable Kevin McCarthy of the state of California has acquired 202 the honorable Jim Jordan of the state of Ohio has acquired 20. No particular person having acquired nearly all of the entire variety of votes solid by surname, a speaker has not been elected.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman McCarthy mentioned late Tuesday he has no plans to drop his bid and was impressed to struggle to the end to develop into Home speaker after a telephone name with former President Donald Trump. However what Trump truly informed McCarthy was, quote, “We’ll see what occurs.” Among the many hard-line Republicans who say they’ll proceed to vote no on McCarthy is Lauren Boebert, who spoke to reporters Tuesday.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT: When you go to the American individuals and ask them if Congress is doing a great job, in the event that they like the way in which issues are run in Washington, D.C., you’re most likely going to get a giant “hell no.” We need to change the way in which issues are completed right here.

AMY GOODMAN: In the meantime, Republican Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene brazenly attacked her former allies Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and others over the speaker vote.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: I haven’t requested for one factor for my — for myself, and I’m the one Republican that has zero committees. So you’d assume I might be the one in there asking for one thing. However I haven’t completed that. However I discover out that it’s my Freedom Caucus colleagues and my supposed associates that went and did that, they usually requested nothing for me. Nothing. That’s what I came upon in there. I’m livid.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s unclear how lengthy it may take for the Home to select a speaker, however till one is chosen, the Home can not conduct different enterprise, together with the swearing-in of latest Home members. For instance, Republican Consultant-elect George Santos falsely introduced Tuesday he was sworn in, and later needed to delete the press launch. Earlier within the day, Santos sat alone as his colleagues within the busy Home chamber prevented him.

Cameras confirmed Republican Matt Gaetz method Democratic Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to ask if Democrats would bail out McCarthy, as McCarthy reportedly informed Republicans. She informed Gaetz there could be no deal.

In the meantime, Democrats had been united of their nomination of Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries as Home speaker, making him the primary Black lawmaker in historical past to guide a celebration in Congress and be nominated as Home speaker. Jeffries truly gained extra votes than McCarthy within the first rounds of votes within the speaker contest. That is Democratic Congressmember Pete Aguilar.

REP. PETE AGUILAR: At the moment, Madam Clark, Home Democrats are united.

AMY GOODMAN: For extra on the Republicans shaping Congress, we’re joined by Robert Draper. He’s a employees author with The New York Occasions and writer of the brand new guide Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Get together Misplaced Its Thoughts. His current New York Occasions Journal story is headlined “Contained in the Jan. 6 Committee: Energy struggles, resignations and made-for-TV moments — the untold story of a very powerful congressional investigation in generations.”

Robert Draper, thanks a lot for becoming a member of us. Are you able to discuss this group of far-right Republicans who’ve stopped McCarthy from changing into Home speaker, at the least at this level? You’ve written a whole guide about them.

ROBERT DRAPER: Certain. I’ve written a pair, truly, about them. This can be a practice that’s been coming down the observe for some time. It’s a far-right group, principally members of the Home Freedom Caucus, who’re decided to point out to the type of MAGA base, the Trump base, that also varieties the spine of the Republican Get together, that they’re fighters.

And precisely what they’re preventing for is type of unclear. They solely know what they’re preventing in opposition to, which on this explicit case is Kevin McCarthy, who they’ve by no means altogether trusted or preferred. McCarthy has provided himself up as somebody who will assist conservatives get what they need, however he himself doesn’t possess an analogous ideology, they usually’re all too conscious of that.

Once more, it’s unclear, Amy, how this ends, but it surely’s been inevitable. It’s been fairly obvious to these of us following what’s happening on the Hill that this type of speaker battle was going to occur and that McCarthy was not going to get 218 votes on the primary and perhaps subsequent balloting.

AMY GOODMAN: So, inform us, individually, about these individuals, who each supported him — it was shocking to see Marjorie Taylor Greene —


AMY GOODMAN: — attacking her colleagues, who she has so typically banded along with — and who they’re, like Paul Gosar of Arizona.

ROBERT DRAPER: Yeah. So, you’re appropriate, Amy, that, , most likely probably the most exceptional growth in all of this has been the alliance that Marjorie Taylor Greene has cast with McCarthy, not as a result of she’s deeply affectionate towards the man or one thing, however, as an alternative, as a result of she believes that the Republican Get together has to face for one thing and has to attempt to accomplish sure issues, and may’t achieve this and not using a speaker, and it could’t achieve this and not using a speaker who has some legislative chops, who’s been across the block, because it had been.

However she finds herself in opposition to fellow members of the Home Freedom Caucus, reminiscent of, you named, Paul Gosar, a far-right member of the Arizona delegation, who’s been round for the reason that tea celebration days. He was elected in 2010 and has at all times been one thing of a marginal character within the Home. However when the “Cease the Steal” imbroglio started following Trump’s defeat in November 2020, Gosar led the forefront of it. He was the primary particular person to face up with a U.S. senator and principally reject the certification of the electoral votes in his state of Arizona.

So, you’ve gotten people who find themselves pure allies who at the moment are in opposition to one another. And it’s gotten fairly private, as you had been taking part in earlier than, and Greene is kind of upset together with her colleagues. She appears like they’re doing issues for their very own private profit, that they’ve excluded her from that course of, and that there isn’t any endgame for them apart from to get plum committee assignments.

AMY GOODMAN: And who’s Kevin McCarthy?

ROBERT DRAPER: Properly, McCarthy joined in 2006, I consider, and has been, , a really bold man, climbing up the management chain from actually the second of his arrival. He was the Home majority whip when the Republicans took energy again from the Democrats following the tea celebration election of 2010. And it’s been evident for these of us on the Hill that McCarthy has had his eye on the speaker’s gavel for a while, and got here near getting it in 2014, failed, and now’s his alternative.

The issue with McCarthy is, as I referenced earlier than, he doesn’t have a selected ideology. It’s unclear actually what he believes in, apart from his personal want to wield energy. He has tried to remain near President — to former President Trump, appearing out of the idea that if Trump ought to oppose the Republicans, that he may actually splinter the celebration forever. And so he’s tried to sort of convey Trump into the fold. And that’s a part of the rationale why he has remained near Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s type of the proximate warrior on Capitol Hill to the MAGA motion. Nevertheless it seems proper now that McCarthy is making an attempt to play a recreation of hen with the far proper.

If I had been McCarthy, although, I’d be involved, particularly, in regards to the tepid degree of help that he’s proven from Donald Trump, who spoke with him on the telephone final night time. McCarthy emerged from that telephone dialog saying that Trump gave him his help; we have now, nevertheless, not heard Trump say that himself. And I feel that, , what Trump dislikes greater than something is dropping and losers, and doesn’t need to be related to a loser. And if it seems that McCarthy bears the taint of somebody who’s going to go down in defeat, Trump will distance himself from McCarthy in a short time. He’s not going to spend no matter is left of his political capital supporting a man who doesn’t stand an opportunity of profitable.

AMY GOODMAN: I imply, most people who had been voting in opposition to McCarthy supported insurrectionists. Can you actually separate Kevin McCarthy from that? As a result of though on the time you can inform he was against what was occurring on January sixth, he instantly went all the way down to Mar-a-Lago — proper? — kissed the ring of Donald Trump, after which tried to stop an investigation into what came about. So he actually is along with them. It’s arduous to separate him.

ROBERT DRAPER: That’s proper. On the identical time, Trump acknowledges that McCarthy has completed every thing you’ve simply described, Amy, out of political calculation, not out of explicit perception. You realize, there’s little or no proof to counsel that Kevin McCarthy believed that the election was stolen, believed that Trump ought to stay in workplace by way of any and all means obligatory. There may be proof, as an alternative, to consider that McCarthy was deeply alarmed by what came about on the Capitol, as I reported in my guide. He heatedly mentioned to Trump on the telephone that afternoon, “They’re effing making an attempt to kill me.” And so, Trump is aware of that McCarthy’s alliance with him is considered one of comfort and considered one of political calculation, not considered one of loyal loyalty.

However, I’ve to say, even when McCarthy had been a real, die-hard loyalist, which means nothing on the earth of Donald Trump. Trump goes to stick with somebody who makes him look good, who helps his agenda, who’s unswervingly loyal to him, and who’s a winner. McCarthy could be all of these different issues, but when it seems that he’s going to be defeated, then Trump will again away.

AMY GOODMAN: I need to convey into this dialog, with Robert Draper, David Dayen, govt editor of The American Prospect, the place his current pieces are “2023: A 12 months for Govt Motion” and “Democrats Frittered Away the Lame-Duck Session.” His piece out right now, “Home GOP Tries to Cancel Congressional Workers Unions.” As this Republican-led Congress bogs down in theatrics, within the govt department, within the Biden — let’s take a look at what has occurred, and in addition what isn’t being paid consideration to, David Dayen. You might have, on the identical time that every one of that is occurring, new Home guidelines underneath Republican management. Are you able to lay out what they’re?

DAVID DAYEN: Yeah. Clearly, they haven’t voted on them but, till they vote for a speaker, however there’s a guidelines package deal that has been arrange. And there are numerous issues in it, a few of them simply type of decorative — eradicating the safety equipment to go onto the Home flooring, that was put in place after January 6, and issues of that nature.

However one consequential factor, at the least for members of the congressional employees, is {that a} collection of unions at congressional places of work, that had been put in place after a decision in Could that carried out laws of a 1995 regulation that allowed congressional employees to prepare, the principles package deal makes an attempt to remove these unions. There are about 10 places of work which have both voted to unionize or arrange an election to vote on that, on whether or not or not to take action. And these are all Democratic places of work, a couple of hundred staffers.

And this can be a Republican Get together that talks about, , being newly emboldened to be for the working class. You realize, individuals like Senator Josh Hawley have mentioned, “We’ve to make the Republican Get together a employees’ celebration.” And actually the very first thing that they’re going to do after they elect a speaker is put ahead a guidelines package deal to remove unions inside their very own office. So I feel it’s an fascinating distinction. And it’s not fully clear that the principles package deal may even do that, and it is likely to be topic to litigation down the street.

AMY GOODMAN: And going again to Robert Draper, along with your guide that’s simply out, Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Get together Misplaced Its Thoughts, you even have a significant piece in The New York Occasions Journal. And in it, you speak in regards to the January sixth committee. Now, one of many choices of the Republican management, in the event that they find yourself — if considered one of them finally ends up being Home speaker — , who is aware of at this level? Hakeem Jeffries is the one with probably the most votes, though he doesn’t have the bulk. You wrote “Contained in the Jan. 6 Committee: Energy struggles, resignations and made-for-TV moments — the untold story of a very powerful congressional investigation.” They are going to be ending that committee, though it’s ended with this final Congress. Discuss, summarize — it was a large piece, however what we should always perceive about what this investigation and this committee was all about.

ROBERT DRAPER: Properly, positive. I imply, I’d say, at its baseline, Amy, the January sixth committee was set as much as perceive how the Capitol riot came about, what components had been concerned in it, in an effort to stop any such makes an attempt at rebellion occurring sooner or later. However because the hearings advanced, it grew to become fairly clear that the main target, the principal goal, was the president of america on the time, Donald Trump, as a result of it was believed — and the proof was supporting this perception — that Trump was the principal actor within the rebellion, that it will not have occurred however for his deeds within the weeks main as much as and on the day of January the sixth. So, that’s the proof that was marshaled.

Now that it has disbanded, Republicans are intimating that they’re, in essence, going to analyze the investigators, that they’re going to look into the recordsdata that the January sixth committee gathered however didn’t essentially promote, in an effort to, for instance, counsel that, say, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the one who was actually chargeable for the safety failures on January the sixth. That is positively a double-edged sword. I imply, it’s actually true that the so-called blue workforce of the January sixth committee did develop a whole lot of info regarding safety lapses that was not emphasised within the remaining report. On the identical time, for this Republican Congress to proceed to labor over the misdeeds of Donald Trump, nevertheless they want to clarify it, it’s simply merely going to imply an incapability to show the web page and to maneuver away, not even a lot from Donald Trump, however from a dialog about malfeasance that occurred, principally by Republicans, as much as and on January the sixth. It’s not a great search for them, and I feel it’s a traditional case of “watch out what you want for.”

AMY GOODMAN: And, Robert Draper, earlier than you go, as a result of I do know you’re going as much as Capitol Hill to proceed interviewing individuals, there was an astounding second yesterday the place you noticed this picture of AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congressmember from New York, sitting with Paul Gosar, the Arizona congressman who had tweeted out a cartoon the place he murdered her. He was censured for this. If we may finish our dialog with you by you speaking about what you assume this group that doesn’t need McCarthy because the Home speaker will characterize and push ahead? And do you assume they’ll acquire monumental energy on this new Home?

ROBERT DRAPER: Certain, Amy. Briefly, I imply, what apparently that dialog was about between Gosar and Ocasio-Cortez was that there had been intimations from Kevin McCarthy and his allies that that they had secured pledges from sure Democrats at a sure level to peel away from Hakeem Jeffries and easily vote “current,” which might decrease the brink and allow McCarthy to realize extra votes. And what Ocasio-Cortez was apparently telling Gosar was, “Nope, no such deal has taken place, nor will any happen.”

Ought to Gosar, Andy Biggs and a number of the others get what they need — Matt Gaetz — what they’ll finally hope to get is Jim Jordan as speaker. Jordan has made clear, nevertheless, that he not solely helps Kevin McCarthy, however he’s actually not concerned with being speaker. In spite of everything, who would? I imply, this can be a very, very unruly Republican bunch, and to should get up each morning realizing that you just’re going to be whipping votes, realizing that you just’re going to attempt to accommodate this very, very fractious Republican convention, is an actual headache. I imply, that’s why Jordan would reasonably be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. It’s why Patrick McHenry, another person who’s a McCarthy ally and has been talked about as a fallback choice, would reasonably be chairman of monetary providers. These guys have taken themselves out of the sport, as a result of they acknowledge what a idiot’s pursuit it will be to attempt to herd the cats on this Republican convention.

AMY GOODMAN: And Jordan, after all, whereas he says he desires to be head of Home Judiciary Committee, his previous at Ohio State as wrestling coach, the place he was accused by one younger man after one other of realizing in regards to the sexual assaults on these younger males throughout the wrestling workforce.

ROBERT DRAPER: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s proper. I imply, that controversy has adopted Jordan for years. It doesn’t appear to have uprooted any help for him throughout the Republican Get together. I don’t assume that that’s a principal motive why Jordan desires to remain considerably out of the limelight. In reality, there’s loads of proof to counsel that he reasonably enjoys having a whole lot of consideration centered on him. I feel it’s extra that he acknowledges that this Republican Get together — , to reply your query, Amy — isn’t actually positive what it desires. I imply, they’ve conservative ideas, however what their endgame is in making an attempt to oppose Kevin McCarthy suggests extra a sort of political efficiency artwork than it does any precise objective or any precise ideological intent.

AMY GOODMAN: And people younger wrestlers who accused Congressman Jordan had been accusing him of realizing about an abusive Ohio State physician who sexually assaulted them. Robert Draper, thanks a lot for being with us, writer of Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Get together Misplaced Its Thoughts.