Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy said continued Republican infighting was “embarrassing” as House Republicans struggle to select a new Speaker of the House.
McCarthy said eight Republicans, led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, created “chaos” by “voting with every single Democrat” and “voting to shut down one branch of government” during a Sunday appearance on NBC News’ Meet The Press with host Kristen Welker.
The former Speaker commented on the continuing resolution, passed prior to his ousting, which prevented the looming fear of a government shutdown, and said he would do the “exact same thing again.”
“Can you imagine if we were having this discussion right now with the American government shut down, with our troops in the middle east wondering when they’ll ever get paid again?” McCarthy told Welker. “Keeping the government open was the right decision to make, and I’d make it again each and every day.”
McCarthy said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan “could have done the job,” though reiterated continued “chaos” prevented both Speaker hopefuls from garnering enough support in the Conference.
“We need to solve this problem. We’ve got a wide-open Southern border. We’ve got crushing inflation. We’ve got war in the Middle East,” McCarthy continued. “This is not a moment in time to play around with learning on the job. We need someone who understands how to do this job.”
The former Speaker threw support behind Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who has launched a bid for Speakership.
“He sets himself head and shoulders above all those others who want to run,” McCarthy said of other House Republicans vying for the seat. “We need to get him elected this week and move on.”
Along with Emmer, eight other House Republicans have launched bids for Speakership including Jack Bergman of Michigan, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania, Gary Palmer of Alabama, Austin Scott of Georgia, Pete Sessions of Texas, and Byron Donalds of Florida.
Donalds, who was originally nominated during January’s historically contested Speaker vote, said he would release all available footage of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021 if elected Speaker.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested a female Speaker of the House would be “more effective” and would help bring the Conference together during a Sunday appearance on Fox News.
McCarthy is the first Speaker of the House to be removed from the seat in U.S. history.
The House is holding a forum for Speaker candidates today.