Rep. Matt Gaetz
Editor’s note: Big Tent Ideas always aims to provide balancing perspectives on the hottest issues of the day. Below is a column arguing that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy shouldn’t be elected Speaker when Republicans take the gavel in January. A piece by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene supporting a McCarthy speakership can be found here.
On Jan. 3rd, Republicans will start the process of choosing the House Speaker. The Speaker will be second in line for the presidency and the most powerful elected Republican.
The vote will take several ballots and possibly many days. After internal debate, Republicans will come together and pick the right leader for the role and that should not be Kevin McCarthy.
The McCarthy camp is spinning that Kevin must be accepted because “we have to avoid chaos.” Chaos for who exactly? The special interests that are counting on McCarthy as their lapdog? I’m worried about chaos in the lives of my constituents. They live under the chaos of vaccine mandates pushed by Kevin’s donors.
How well did Speaker Paul Ryan serve conservatives during then-President Donald Trump’s first term? Are we glad that his tenure got off to a smooth start? It would have been better to have debated and chosen the right leader. Ryan, of course, supports McCarthy.
Every single Republican in Congress knows that Kevin does not actually believe anything. He has no ideology.
Some conservatives are using this fact to convince themselves that he is the right leader for the moment, as McCarthy is so weak he’ll promise anything to anyone. As his mentor recently confessed, “He lies. He’ll change the lie if necessary.” McCarthy doesn’t just respond to pressure from the Right.
During several important junctures in the past decade, we’ve seen Cavin’ McCarthy.
On Ukraine, McCarthy voted yes for the $40 billion Ukraine aid package in May. He even pushed the Biden administration to further escalate conflict with Russia as he called for fighter jets to be transferred to Ukraine. During the Obama administration, McCarthy called for a no-fly zone to be enforced in Syria while the Russian military was operating there.
McCarthy even bought into the Russia hoax. In June 2016, McCarthy told other GOP congressmen, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.” If he’ll fall for the Russia hoax, you won’t be surprised that McCarthy took a knee to Black Lives Matter when it mattered.
McCarthy joined Democrats last year to vote to remove historical monuments from the U.S. Capitol building. This is who Kevin is. He sticks his wet finger in the air to decide what position to take.
He told confidants that Trump should be censured or resign.
Leaders don’t wait to see what the crowd wants. Leaders also don’t take orders from lobbyists. McCarthy, who was previously honored as one of “the tech industry’s best friends in Congress,” opposes legislation that would break up companies like Amazon and Apple.
Would it surprise you if you found out that Jeff Miller, Kevin McCarthy’s “confidant,” was a registered lobbyist for Apple and Amazon? Apple and Amazon paid Miller’s firm over $1 million to lobby Republican members against breaking up Big Tech.
Why exactly again are we supposed to coronate a man whose top adviser is a corporate lobbyist for the likes of Pfizer?
McCarthy also failed in his duties to deliver a resounding House majority. He told voters we would have a 20-seat plus majority and said that 2022 could be “one of the biggest election losses for Democrats.”
Instead, we have a four-seat majority. It could be larger. McCarthy’s campaign to falsely claim Joe Kent is a socialist played a role in Kent’s tight 5,000 vote loss in Washington. Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt had McCarthy working against her up until her September primary. She fell just short in November.
In sports, when the team loses games it is supposed to win, the coach gets fired. In business, when earnings vastly miss projections, the CEO is replaced. In Republican politics, a promotion shouldn’t be failure’s chaser.
McCarthy knows he will end up failing Republicans and caving to liberals. That’s why he opposes reinstating the motion to vacate, which was in place from 1801 to 2018. He wants to make sure conservative congressmen can’t fix the problem once it’s too late.
Matt Gaetz represents Florida’s 1st Congressional District.
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