On CNN Wednesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) tore into his party's leadership, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), for giving so much power to far-right lawmakers whom they have acknowledged are a danger behind closed doors.
"I'm interested to know what your perspective is on Matt Gaetz referring to Congressman McCarthy and Congressman Scalise as weak men," said anchor Jake Tapper. "Do you agree with him? Even if not for the same reasons he thinks that."
"I think, in many respects, the Republican leadership in the House is weakening themselves by placating these fringe elements within the conference," said Dent.
"In other words, you think they're weak, but not for the reason Matt Gaetz does," said Tapper.
"They're hurting themselves by placating these fringe elements," said Dent. "Look, I think Kevin McCarthy is going to wiggle his way out of this for the moment. The more they placate Trump on the insurrection, the fringe elements, they're empowering them. There's too many members who are fearful. I'll call it the Fear Caucus. There's too many of them. By being silent, they simply empower the fringe, and the fringe dominates the narrative. And that's going to make governing that much more difficult, should he become Speaker, because how are they going to pass debt ceilings, how are they going to pass appropriations bills and everything else they need to do to govern? It will be enormously difficult with a Democratic president."
"I think they're weakening themselves," Dent reiterated. "There's probably an erosion of support for McCarthy right now because of this. The question is how much."
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