Fmr Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on the Speaker Race: “I’ve Asked Them To Not Nominate Me”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Former Speaker of the House, joined the Guy Benson Show to discuss the latest on the attacks in Israel and his 5 point plan to address the attacks from Hamas in the country. Benson and McCarthy discuss the brutality and buck against the justifications of the attacks by Hamas and called them “the same as ISIS”. They also discussed the need to close the US border and the upcoming fight to elect the next Speaker of the House. Listen to the full interview below live from the Hoover Institution.

Full interview:

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McCarthy had this to say on if he is running for Speaker of the House again:

“There are a number of members who want me to be Speaker again. What I’ve asked of them is to not nominate me… and my speech on Israel has nothing to do with that. We’re having a debate tonight and a vote tomorrow.”

Full Transcript:

GUY BENSON, FOX RADIO HOST:  Just moments ago, President Biden spoke from the White House addressing the crisis in Israel and the terrorist attack over the weekend by Hamas that has claimed more than 1,000 Israeli lives, including, the president told us, an updated death toll among Americans, 14 U.S. citizens killed by the terrorists of Hamas.

An unknown number of Americans are being held hostage by that medieval terror group.

Joining me now is the former Speaker of the House and California Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

Congressman, Mr. Speaker, it’s great to be here in your state, and we’re very glad to have you here on the program.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA):  Well, thank you very much for having me.

It’s very sad times. I mean, and we all woke up on Saturday watching this terror unfold. And, yesterday, I laid out a five-point plan of what we need to do. First and foremost, get the Americans back. But I don’t know if you saw this horrendous news we found today of the 40 babies being slaughtered, beheaded.

And that kibbutz, I was at, and just last February, with a number of members touring that facility right across from Gaza. And this is where they came and attacked.

BENSON:  Babies decapitated, bodies burned, women raped and then murdered. There’s an awful photograph of a child’s bedroom and a kid’s bed just splattered with blood.

Congressman, we have seen justifications of this by sort of a shocking and revolting number of people in the United States, in the West. What do you make of that?

MCCARTHY:  This is as drastic, this is the same as ISIS. Hamas has to be destroyed, not weakened, destroyed.

And America has to stand shoulder to shoulder and tell the entire world Israel has the right to destroy Hamas. The atrocities here, it’s unbelievable. We have never seen anything like this since the Holocaust. This is bigger than the number of deaths that happened in America in 9/11. This would be equivalent to more than 30,000.

Hamas’ whole charter is just to kill Jews. And we know — we know Iran was involved. We have got to look at our own intel. We have got to look at what’s happening along our border, those in the terrorist watch list coming across to America.

We have got to make sure Israel has the resources they need. We need to replenish the Iron Dome. The whole tactic is to try to overwhelm it. I have been to the Iron — watch these Iron Domes down by Gaza many times. The first bombs they send will be dumb rockets.

They wait until they try to overwhelm, and then they come back with precision rockets of where they want to go. This is not something that will be over in a day or two. And this is something that’s been very clear that Iran today is financially stronger and helping more of these terrorists, because, if you think of this, if you look at the foreign currency fund reserves, when Biden took office, Iran was about $4 billion.

They’re at $70 billion today. The sanctions are still on Iran oil, but the Biden administration doesn’t enforce it. Everybody talks about the $6 billion. That should be refrozen. But the real money that they get, when — when Biden first took over, Iran was only producing 400,000 barrels a day to sell. Now they’re at three million, and he’s moved the price to $100 a barrel.

This is where they’re making the billions of dollars to fund terrorism around the world. And what’s even more scary, you study history, and you know history repeats itself. And when you get Condi on, who’s just a brilliant mind, you should talk about this.

This is a lot like the 1930s. The axis of evil has been created with Iran, Russia, and China. This is the fear of what we have, and this is why America cannot be silent. America has to be strong.

BENSON:  Part of that strength — and we heard the president call for this in his speech — and I agree his policies have been very bad and have strengthened and enriched Iran and helped Hamas.

His comments moments ago were very good and very strong, and we will see if that lasts. They’re welcome, in terms of what they are. But he said, and I’d imagine there’s bipartisan appetite for this, there needs to be a supplemental funding effort to send more aid to Israel, including to replenish, as you just called for, Iron Dome.

The House of Representatives, as you know better than anyone, is paralyzed right now. Is — at least my understanding, is there any possibility to move any of this in the middle of this crisis without a speaker of the House?

MCCARTHY:  You can’t. The rules are, you have to only — you have to elect a speaker first.

All the Democrats and eight Republicans, just 4 percent, decided some brilliant move to remove me as speaker because they wanted me to shut the government down. Could you imagine if government was shut down right now, that our troops were not being paid, that our adversaries would think America is weak at this moment and we couldn’t act, not only did you not have a speaker, you didn’t have government open?

I mean, Matt Gaetz’s ideas are truly amazing is, this is his plan. And he didn’t have anybody to replace it. He wasn’t running himself. And he wanted to shut government down, and worked with every single Democrat and eight Republicans to take over a conservative House.

Now we’re in jeopardy of what we’re able to do.

BENSON:  We were very critical of what happened last week. And we covered it live as it played out during our show.

But what happened, happened. Then the House went into recess. You guys sort of regrouped. You addressed your caucus and said:  Effectively, it’s been an honor to be the speaker. It’s terrible what’s happened, but I’m going to step aside and not seek the speakership again.

And then the House was put into recess for about a week, came back today, but, apparently, the reports are, no votes today, maybe something tomorrow.

So, a couple questions here. Number one, are you still committed to not becoming speaker again, which is what you indicated last week? I saw that you maybe opened the door here this week to that possibility. What’s your state of mind on that question?

MCCARTHY:  Look, there are a number of members who want me to become speaker again.

What I have asked them is not to nominate me. And they’re going to nominations tonight or tomorrow. We have two individuals that are running. We will see if they can unite the conference to bring it back. I don’t understand what drove these eight to do what they’re doing.

But my speech about Israel shouldn’t matter about who is speaker. We need to act now. We need to make sure our intel — we need to make sure we get our Americans out. We need to make sure we stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel. And we need to make sure that Hamas is destroyed.

We also need to make sure we stand up to antisemitism. You’re on a college campus right now. I mean, I just watched something put out of people standing with Hamas on these parachutes — with a parachute sign. It was something in Chicago with the BLM.

This is unbelievable.

BENSON:  It’s sick.

MCCARTHY:  This is unacceptable. And every single college president needs to stand up.

Well, what is even worse, it’s here in the — it’s here in Congress. I have watched it time again with Omar when she said after 9/11, something happened that day. People did something that day.

BENSON:  Right, some people did something.


MCCARTHY:  … to that day.

And if you watched Tlaib, Tlaib said, our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government. The cycle of violence will continue, saying America caused this because we stand with Israel.

The sad part here is, Biden didn’t denounce that. Hakeem Jeffries haven’t denounced that. And, actually, when they spoke to the Democratic leader spokesperson, they said no comment.

The president, he said strong words today. How many days later? The world is looking. He is the leader of the free world. They are looking to where America goes to whether this expands. And he has a barbecue and he has a lid. He didn’t lay out a clear plan. He just said some words.

I mean, if you look at the actions he’s taken, not just the $6 billion. He should have refroze that today. He should have taken action. He should have enforced the sanctions that are already on Iran. His secretary of state said there’s no clear knowledge that Iran was involved.

You can read The Wall Street Journal. We have all watched it. And he should take a reassessment of knowing, in Israel, they have two walls, and they broke through. He has a wide-open border that, in 2019, we caught zero number of people coming across that are on the terrorist watch list.

There’s 151 we caught so far this year coming from 160 different countries, from Yemen and others. What do those people have planned in America?

BENSON:  Right.

MCCARTHY:  A small phalanx, we have learned before, can do real damage.

BENSON:  And some of this…

MCCARTHY:  So, he can get up and say a few words, but he didn’t even take a question.

BENSON:  Right.

On some of these policy questions, I mean, I agree with you. The critiques are completely valid. The Republicans, at least nominally, control one-half of Congress, but, as we have discussed, they can’t do anything because there is no speaker of the House because you were deposed last week.

And there’s this uncertainty. I know you just said a moment ago that you’re asking your supporters in the conference not to nominate you for this position. You mentioned two other people who are declared candidates, Jim Jordan, who’s been endorsed by President Trump, Steve Scalise, who was very close with you on your leadership team.

He’s the House majority leader. Do you have a preference? If it’s not going to be you — and you’re saying you’re not even asking to be nominated again — do you have a preference between Chairman Jordan and Majority Leader Scalise? Do you know how you’re going to vote?

And do you know when this is going to happen? It seems like time is of the essence. There’s some urgency right now, for the reasons that you just laid out?

MCCARTHY:  There is an urgency.

But we have a speaker pro tem, who I appointed. I think we should allow that person — you’re in a state of emergency. The whole concept of a speaker pro tem was created after 9/11, that we realized, what if the speaker was taken out? What could you do?

Well, you have somebody to be able to carry on the continuity of government. So, Patrick McHenry is in. We should allow Patrick McHenry to actually have the role if he has the role. He should be able to call Congress in. We should be able to do the supplemental. We should be able to vote, put a resolution on the…


BENSON:  Is that allowed under — is that allowed under the rules?

Just to be clear, can that happen under the rules?



BENSON:  Or do the rules have to be changed?

MCCARTHY:  No, there’s a debate internally about how much jurisdiction does he have?

I would argue this is something new, hasn’t been used before. It was after 9/11. I would say the intent of putting somebody in there if the speaker was deposed was so that person could act as the speaker until a new speaker is elected, so you have the continuity of government.

It was the idea that the government wouldn’t be shut down. I personally am of the belief that he should be able to do it and have the ability to do it.


BENSON:  So, basically, an acting — acting Speaker McHenry, for the moment, is what you’re advocating for.

And then is there a timeline that you’re aware of, realistically, for an actual speaker to be elected? Within your conference, there’s a lot of people out there supporting Jordan, others, of course, supporting Scalise. Do you have a preference? And, again, do you know when that might realistically happen, one way or another?

MCCARTHY:  They’re having the debate tonight, and we will have a vote tomorrow.

Remember, you still have to get 218. It took me 15 rounds and a number of days.


BENSON:  Right. Right.

MCCARTHY:  You have a couple — we have a couple of members that apparently don’t want to govern or just don’t actually want to be a full majority, so that becomes a problem.

Look, I think, from the position that I’m in today, let the conference make that decision. I shouldn’t put my thumb on the scale one way or another. We need to unite if we’re going to govern. We need to find a way to go forward.

I mean, if we’re going to allow four people — 4 percent of our conference to dictate and partner with Democrats, we’re never going to get anything done.


BENSON:  And speaking of the Democrats, last question, Mr. Speaker.

We covered extensively last week that every single Democrat lined up and united to vote with those eight Republicans to oust you from the speakership. Several of them had said they wouldn’t do that, and then they did, and leadership whipped those votes, and they were unified.

I have also seen them fund-raising. Some of your Republican colleagues fund-raised off of this, including one that you mentioned a moment ago. The Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries is out there fund-raising, saying, well, look at this dysfunction. We can’t do anything in the House of Representatives. Give us money.

I mean, there’s a lot of cynicism to go around here, Mr. Speaker, because they all voted, the entire Democratic Conference voted for the chaos that they’re now denouncing and fund-raising off of.

MCCARTHY:  Very much so.

I mean, think about this. Hakeem Jeffries can’t stand up to the antisemitism in his own conference. He can’t stand up to make sure — just a few days before, I was the one to be able to lead to keep government open. And he partners and he yells about — says there’s extremism in the Republican Party, and he aligns himself with Matt Gaetz?

That says a lot. And then they both fund-raise off it? They both did it for the same reasons, their own personal gains, instead of putting the country before politics. They put politics before everything else.

BENSON:  Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Republican congressman here from the state of California, as we broadcast in Northern California this week at the Hoover Institution.

Mr. Speaker, very interesting road ahead. We really appreciate your time on this Tuesday. Thank you.

MCCARTHY:  Thank you.