Does Kevin McCarthy Really Have House GOP Leader Sewed Up?

President Donald Trump, right, accompanied by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to members of the media as they arrive for a dinner at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


With the retirement of Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy was considered a shoo-in for Speaker or House Minority Leader. The GOP’s loss of the House on Tuesday has given impetus to a small scale mutiny. Ohio Representative and Freedom Caucus stalwart Jim Jordan has declared his intent to run for caucus leadership.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said that House Republicans must prepare to defend President Trump from potential investigations launched by House Democrats, saying he doubts there will be much bipartisan effort.

“I don’t think so,” Jordan told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton on “Rising” when asked if there would be an effort from House Democrats to reach across the aisle.

“I think they’re going to investigate the heck out of the first family. I think there will be impeachment proceedings. Mr. Cummings has talked about that on the Oversight Committee. Mr. Nadler has talked about that. He’ll be the next chair of the Judiciary Committee,” he continued.

“And Adam Schiff has said the same thing as the next chair of the Intelligence Committee, so I think it’s important we stand up and defend the White House and the president, and push back on some of these things that we know are going to happen,” he said.

McCarthy, for his part, says the election is locked up.

In his first interview since Tuesday’s drubbing — Democrats racked up their biggest House win since the Watergate scandal — McCarthy on Friday said the GOP will have to learn from its mistakes this past cycle. But he insisted that Republicans can get back in the majority in 2020, despite an unpopular, unpredictable president sitting in the Oval Office. And McCarthy asserted he is the right person to lead them there.

“I had the votes the first day,” McCarthy said of the race to become minority leader. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a hardline conservative who helped found the House Freedom Caucus, is running against McCarthy. House Republicans will choose their new leaders on Nov. 14.

Is that true. One of the basic rules of leadership elections is that no votes are locked up until they are counted. In fact, the loss Tuesday has made McCarthy’s job a lot harder. Not only is the caucus more right-leaning than the current Congress:

I think everyone knows that the new environment calls for more of a street fighter like Newt Gingrich than a go-along-get-along happy loser like Bob Michel. I’ve not seen any visible signs that McCarthy really understands what fresh hell is coming his way in January or that he has the gonads, guts or gumption to fight the trench and guerrilla warfare that the situation will require.

McCarthy may very well win. If he does, I’m not convinced that he is the man the GOP will need for the next two years in the House.

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