According to a report from the Washington Post, disgruntled Republican House members have been privately discussing whether they should oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as House Minority Leader should Donald Trump be defeated in November.
The report notes that there are a number of complaints that have been made against the California Republican, who saw the House change hands on his watch as a result of the "Blue wave" 2018 election, with many of the problems attributed to McCarthy's close affiliation with Trump.
The Post reports that at least ten Republicans are looking at leading a revolt against McCarthy after the election, with the talk ramping up because he stood by and allowed Marjorie Taylor Greene, "a fringe House candidate in Georgia who espouses the QAnon conspiracy theory" to win in a recent primary which has embarrassed many Republicans.
According to the report, fellow House Republicans are unhappy that McCarthy refused to throw the party's full support behind her opponent and then phoned her "in an apparent peace accord before the primary, while Trump embraced her on Twitter this week as a 'future Republican Star.'"
Add to that, is McCarthy's full-throated support of the president whose unpopularity is dragging the whole party down.
"A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference," the report states. "According to interviews with more than 10 House Republicans — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank — some GOP lawmakers are worried that McCarthy has tied the conference too much to Trump, refusing to stand up to the president or act as a buffer to distinguish the conference from him."
One specific point that has rankled GOP House members was McCarthy's failure to protect them from a demand from Trump's campaign that they "donate to the president’s reelection effort."
According to Doug Heye, a former House GOP leadership aide, "There’s no doubt that McCarthy is a Trump loyalist, through and through. I think the challenge for everyone in the Republican conference is, at some point there will be a post-Trump world — whether that’s coming in three months or later. What direction does the party go?”
One House member, who asked to remain anonymous was a bit more blunt, saying of McCarthy, "He does nothing but lick Trump’s boots. That’s all he cares about — so no, it’s not helpful.”
McCarthy's fate is not only tied to Trump's, but also to whether Republicans lose more House seats, with one Republican saying, "He becomes damaged goods [if Trump loses], but it could be offset if he is successful in helping the GOP conference win back a bunch of seats. But if we lose . . . the Republican conference is probably going to be looking for something different in leadership.”
One House Republican expressed confusion over McCarthy's close embrace of Trump.
“He changed and became fully committed on the Trump train,” they explained. “Kevin has never been a conservative guy; he’s one of the most moderate guys in the House if you look at his voting record. But all of a sudden there was this metamorphosis where it was ‘Everything Trump.’ And look, there’s high-risk, high-reward with that.”
"In May, despite Trump’s massive war chest breaking records, McCarthy worked with the Trump campaign on a plan to get House Republicans to donate to the president’s reelection. A few weeks later, news broke that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 42 most vulnerable members had an average 5-to-1 cash advantage over their GOP opponents, while 30 Democratic challengers outraised their Republican opponents in the second quarter of 2020 — putting Democrats in a prime position to grow their majority," the Post reports. "Some GOP members were livid, wondering why they were called on to help fund the well-oiled Trump money machine when some of their own were in trouble."
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