Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, has criticized Kevin McCarthy (R.California), in two separate interviews this Week.
Meadows took issue with the way McCarthy has been leading Republicans in the House, stating on a podcast hosted by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) that he and other GOP leaders aren’t “skating to where the puck is,” utilizing a hockey analogy to deride the highest-ranking Republican in Congress.
“I would give them a grade of ‘D,’” Meadows said, adding that Republicans weren’t forcing Democrats to take enough “tough votes” in the House.
In a separate podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Meadows said that McCarthy probably shouldn’t even become Speaker of the House if Republicans win the 2022 midterms. If their party wins control of Congress, it is standard practice for the minority leader in that position to assume that title.
Meadows instead stated that Trump was his former boss. should become speaker, saying that he’d “love to see the gavel go from Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump.”
“You talk about melting down, people would go crazy,” he added.
Meadows’ comments on both programs show a clear division within the GOP. Many Trump loyalists want the former president to remain the “head” of the party, while others want to keep him in the past and focus their energies elsewhere, likely to bolster their electoral chances. Recent polling suggests that a plurality of voters overall are turned off by any candidate that “strongly embraces” the former president.
Trump becoming Speaker of the House is a rare, but not impossible, feat. According to the U.S. ConstitutionThe House members can elect their own leaders and officers. This has never been done. Many Trump supporters have already supported the idea. prior to Meadows’s comments this past week.
It’s also notable that Meadows is demonstrating a continued loyalty to Trump, even after facing threats of contempt charges from the January 6 commission. Although he was somewhat cooperative back in September, Meadows has thus far failed to comply with the commission’s subpoena orders, refusing to testify about what he knows regarding the former president’s thinking on the days leading up to the Capitol building attack.
Last Friday, Commission chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said that Meadows’s failure to comply could land him in legal trouble.
“Mr. Meadows’s actions today — choosing to defy the law — will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena,” Thompson stated this in a statement last Wednesday. “If his defiance persists and that process moves ahead, the record will reveal the wide range of matters the Select Committee wished to discuss with Mr. Meadows until his decision to hide behind the former President’s spurious claims of privilege.”