Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday called out some of his Republican colleagues who voted to oust him last month, suggesting there should be “consequences” for those who brought him down as the threat of a government shutdown looms.
Eight House Republicans joined all present Democrats to support a motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to remove him from the speaker’s role, leading to chaos in the lower chamber. It took three weeks for the GOP to unite around a replacement for McCarthy.
In a new interview with CNN, McCarthy took issue with Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) for voting for him to be removed, suggesting she won’t win another term in office because of her “flip-flopping” on issues.
“I don’t think she will probably have earned the right to get reelected,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju.
Mace snapped back at McCarthy, suggesting she doesn’t need his help to secure another term.
“I raise $6 million every two years for my reelection campaign,” she told CNN. “I know exactly how to raise money. I know exactly how to run — women can run, and women can win, Kevin McCarthy — surprise.”
But Mace was not the only member McCarthy had harsh words for.
Asked if Gaetz should be expelled for leading his ouster, McCarthy replied that it would be up to the House GOP conference.
He added, “But I don’t believe the conference would ever heal if there’s no consequences for the action.”
McCarthy also weighed in on the new GOP Speaker, Mike Johnson (R-La.), who will now face the first big test in his new role as the deadline to avoid a government shutdown is fast approaching.
Republicans on Thursday had to again pull one of the 12 bills Congress has to pass to fund the government in fear that the legislation wouldn’t garner enough votes on the floor.
But McCarthy said Johnson wouldn’t necessarily face the challenges he did.
“You get a honeymoon,” he said, appearing to suggest that the resistance he faced was the result of a House ethics probe into Gaetz.
The former speaker added that he believes Johnson would be “safe” in the job even if he had to rely on Democratic votes to avoid a shutdown, pointing to the harsh reality Republicans would have to face in the event that they were unhappy with the current GOP leader.
“Who are you going to replace him with?” McCarthy asked.