According to a report from CNN, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been providing money and advice to several GOP colleagues in the House who voted to impeach former president Donald Trump.
With an eye on retaking the speakership in the House from fellow California lawmaker Nancy Pelosi (D), McCarthy is shoring up key Republican incumbents who would likely fare better in 2022 than any candidates that a disgruntled Trump might endorse.
As CNN's Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Alex Rogers wrote, "Half of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection -- Reps. David Valadao of California, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, both of Michigan -- participate in a joint fundraising committee with McCarthy and his leadership PAC, which has raised roughly $100,000 for each of the five campaigns in the first half of the year."
McCarthy's below-the-surface involvement flies in the face of his public support of Trump -- including his attempts to derail a House select committee investigating the president's role in the Jan 6th insurrection that followed a "Save America" rally.
According to the CNN report, McCarthy's involvement in saving some of the GOP incumbent's jobs has infuriated some Republican challengers who have allied themselves with Trump.
"McCarthy is talking out of one side of his mouth, saying that he supports the MAGA movement, Trump and President Trump's policies, but his money is supporting Jaime Herrera Beutler and four of the other impeachment voters," charged Joe Kent, a Trump-backed primary challenger to Herrera Beutler in an interview with CNN. "It's just part of the GOP grift. So me and the rest of the base, we've kind of heard enough from them."
The report goes on to note that Kent stated he would "absolutely not" support McCarthy as House speaker if he wins his primary and then the general election and the GOP reclaims the House.
"His comments underscore the kinds of headaches facing McCarthy. Trump's meddling in GOP primaries -- especially in key swing districts -- is threatening to complicate the House GOP's path back to the majority," CNN is reporting. "The California Republican finds himself caught between a Trump-loyal right flank whom he needs to be speaker one day and Republican incumbents whom he has vowed to protect."
State Rep. Steve Carra (R), who would like to supplant Michigan's Upton, also took a shot at McCarthy.
"I don't care about DC leaders ... most of the Republicans in DC are RINOs who have no interest in actually putting America First," Carra wrote in an email to CNN. "Kevin McCarthy has a choice to make. He can continue to back the Anti-Trump Fred Upton who voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump or he can join the America First movement and support Steve Carra, who now has the full and total endorsement of President Trump."
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