Is McCarthy actually back?
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has left the door open to a potential return to the position if the House Republican Conference finds itself unable to reach a consensus on a new leader.
According to The Hill, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt posed the question to McCarthy, who recently lost his role as Speaker after a coalition of eight House Republicans sided with Democrats to remove him. On Monday, Hewitt asked McCarthy if he would be willing to step back into the role of Speaker if the Republican caucus remains divided on selecting his replacement.
McCarthy responded by emphasizing that the decision ultimately rests with the conference, stating, “Look, the conference has to make that decision. I’m still a member, and I’m committed to continuing to engage and contribute.”
When pressed further about whether he would accept the role again if the dissenting eight GOP members reversed their stance, McCarthy kept the option open, stating, “Look, I will do whatever the conference deems necessary. It’s crucial that we maintain our unity and strength. From my perspective, the disagreement with those eight members was more personal than political.”
McCarthy expressed frustration with those Republicans who had voted against a GOP-exclusive temporary funding proposal. Their repeated failure to pass such a bill, which included spending cuts and policy provisions, had compelled McCarthy to advocate for a “clean” stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown. This move had further angered hard-line GOP members who subsequently supported his removal.
In defense of his decision, McCarthy pointed to the ongoing conflict in Israel, arguing, “They were the ones pushing for a government shutdown. Can we really afford to not pay our troops while we have military operations underway, including a carrier strike group in the Middle East? We need to consider our national security interests.”
Several Republicans, including Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), have voiced support for McCarthy’s reinstatement as Speaker, especially in light of the ongoing situation in Israel.
Competing for the role of Speaker are House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). The House GOP is scheduled to hold a candidate forum on Tuesday, followed by an internal conference election on Wednesday.