Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday that Republicans opposing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker have a “psychological problem.”
“I think it’s a psychological problem. These guys, they can’t count straight, they can’t play tic-tac-toe, they can’t accept victory,” Gingrich told “Fox and Friends” host Griff Jenkins. “This is a moment where the Freedom Caucus could claim victory and conservatives could claim victory.”
Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona launched an unsuccessful challenge to McCarthy for the nomination of the House Republican caucus to serve as speaker in November. Biggs and Republican Reps. Bob Good of Virginia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana all publicly announced they would not support McCarthy for speaker.
“They’re not voting against Kevin McCarthy, they’re voting against over 215 members of their own conference. Their conference voted overwhelmingly, 85%, for McCarthy to be speaker,” Gingrich said. “So this is a fight between a handful of people and the entire rest of the conference.”
McCarthy gave in Sunday to demands by the more conservative Republicans to lower the threshold for a “motion to vacate the chair,” which allows rank-and-file members of the House of Representatives to depose the speaker. Then-Rep. Mark Meadows used the procedure in 2015 in an attempt to end John Boehner’s tenure as speaker.
“Given what McConnell has been doing in the Senate, McCarthy is the only hope for conservatism in Washington right now, and to undermine him, I think is to undermine conservatism, undermine the Republican Party and, frankly, undermine the country,” Gingrich said.
McCarthy agreed to many rule changes proposed by the House Freedom Caucus. “The simple fact is that Congress is broken and needs to change,” The California Republican said in a letter to members Sunday, according to Politico.
McCarthy needs 218 votes to secure the speakership.
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