Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) slammed GOP lawmakers who said they plan to oppose Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in his bid for Speaker, calling the conservatives holding out against McCarthy “kamikazes” trying to “sink the whole Republican Party.”
Gingrich, who served as Speaker from 1995 to 1999, said on Fox News on Monday that the handful of Republican House members who have said they would not back McCarthy were choosing “chaos” by not voting for the GOP leader.
As the hard-line conservatives hold out, Gingrich warned that he thinks “the Republican Party right now is in the greatest danger of meltdown than it’s been since 1964.”
“These guys can’t count straight. They can’t play tic-tac-toe. They can’t accept victory,” Gingrich said. “To undermine [McCarthy] is to undermine conservatism, undermine the Republican Party and, frankly, undermine the country.”
To undermine [McCarthy] is to undermine conservatism, undermine the Republican Party and, frankly, undermine the country.Newt Gingrich
McCarthy, who needs 218 votes to become Speaker, has been handing down concessions to his detractors in the party. That includes allowing a move to “vacate the chair,” which would trigger a vote on the ousting of the Speaker, with the approval of just five Republicans.
McCarthy also greenlighted the creation of a House subcommittee on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government,” which would increase scrutiny on the Biden administration and federal agencies.
But a number of his opponents in the conference seem entrenched, even as McCarthy concedes to some of their priorities. Gingrich said this should be a time when House conservatives claim victory.
“McCarthy has agreed to every policy they have asked for,” Gingrich said. “The truth is that the Freedom Caucus has won a huge set of victories.”
McCarthy is attempting to nail down enough votes to win the Speakership before the first vote on Tuesday, and it is unclear whether his acquiescence to conservatives will be enough to get him across the finish line.
While many believe the right wingers have not offered a viable alternative to McCarthy, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) teased that they had a “true” conservative who would become apparent Tuesday after the first vote.
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