Kevin McCarthy lashes out with profanity at GOP members trying to extort him over speakership vote

Kevin McCarthy lashes out with profanity at GOP members trying to extort him over speakership vote
Kevin McCarthy speaks on day 2 of the 2016 RNC (Image via Voice of America / Wikimedia Commons).

On Friday, CNN reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has lost his patience with Republican House members demanding he appease them in return for electing him speaker down the line — and issued a threat to these members in a December meeting.

"The House Republican leader cast off his typically sunny demeanor during a December 8 meeting of the GOP conference to deliver a stern warning to his most raucous members: Quit trying to hold your vote for speaker over my head," reported Michael Warren and Melanie Zanona. "'He said, 'If any of you come to me and tell me that you're not going to vote for me unless I do something, I'm going to do exactly the opposite, even if I agree with you,'' said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who was there at the time. A second Republican member told CNN McCarthy punctuated his threat with, 'I mean it.'"

Another unnamed GOP member put McCarthy's message bluntly: "He shifted from friendly mode to 'stop f***ing around and hurting the conference' mode."

Republicans are widely considered to be favorites to win control of the House in 2022, given Democrats' slim majority and the historical trend of the opposition party making gains in midterm years. However, analysts have observed McCarthy struggling to hold together his caucus, which could be an issue for his party accomplishing anything as a majority.

In particular, the far-right members of the caucus have been making demands of McCarthy in order to support him for speaker. Particularly prominent is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who told McCarthy to kick Trump-skeptic Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) out of the caucus and strip moderate Rep. John Katko (R-NY) of his Homeland Security committee leadership — although much of this is now a moot point given Kinzinger and Katko are both retiring.

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