Kevin McCarthy: Speaker Johnson’s Motion To Vacate “Won’t Go Anywhere”, but Johnson “Gave Up (His) Leverage” on Spending Package

Kevin McCarthy, Former Speaker of the House, joined the Guy Benson Show to talk about a bevy of topics. The pair first discuss his personal ouster from the House of Representatives and the journey that left him resigning from his post in Congress. McCarthy and Benson also discuss Speaker Johnson and the current job he is doing as he struggles against a potential ouster of his own. McCarthy dishes on Rep. Omar and Biden’s poor job, and you can listen to the full interview below.

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Guy Benson: I’m very pleased to welcome back in studio Kevin McCarthy, former speaker of the House, former California congressman. Last time you were here in studio with me, you were sitting in that chair right there, and you were not yet speaker. And now here we are together. You were speaker for a while. We remember how that all went down. We’ll talk about maybe.

Kevin McCarthy: Wait a minute. And I’m beginning to think you’re bad luck.

Guy Benson: I think it’s probably. It probably wasn’t me. It’s just a guess. Just to guess that it wasn’t me. Before we get into congressional drama, although there’s actually a tie in. Okay, we were just talking about what’s happening kind of in your neck of the woods an hour, hour and a half from your district. UCLA one of the worst examples. But it’s playing out all sorts of places and campuses around the country. Anti-Semitic pro Hamas mobs and violence and administrations, especially at UCLA, just being like, well, if you have masked terrorism supporters setting up checkpoints where Jews can’t pass, so be it. I mean, I just I can’t believe this is happening.

Kevin McCarthy: You wouldn’t think this was America for one, but there’s a number of reasons for it. If you study history, the world looks like a lot like the 1930s. I mean, the actions of Putin are very similar to Hitler. You could walk them all through the movement. Hitler went and created an axis of evil, empire in Asia. They wanted to expand. Then he went to Italy. You look at what Putin did bounding with China, North Korea, a movement within Asia. Then Iran. Who wants to take over? You’ve got a weakness in the presidency that pushed our allies away. Then you watched what happened recently when the Democrats controlled Congress. Congresswoman Omar equated American Israel equal to Hamas and the Taliban, and the leadership of the Democrats wouldn’t rebuke her. Nancy Pelosi actually goes on TV to clarify that she would not rebuke her because she’s an integral part of their conference.

Guy Benson: And that was when they were in the majority.

Kevin McCarthy: Yes, and kept her on foreign affairs where she would get classified briefings. When I became speaker, I removed her from foreign affairs. Congresswoman Talib tried to have a celebration against the creation of Israel on the 75th anniversary of Israel. I removed the room for her able to have. Then she went to Bernie Sanders and held it in her office. No rebuke from the Democrats. So if you’re wondering why is this now sparking up on our college campuses just a few years later? Well, if it’s allowed in the halls of Congress under the Democratic leadership, why wouldn’t those on the college campuses? But more importantly, why wouldn’t those who want to fund it? Because if you look at the arrest in Columbia, last night where they took over, ransacked, how many of those were actually students? So if you’re wondering, could Hamas come to America? It’s happening right now. I’ll guarantee you, they’re recruiting in those tents. I’ll guarantee you the funding of where it’s coming from, the disruption. And what’s it doing? Disrupting the universities, taking American flags down, replacing it with foreign flags and thinking nothing’s wrong with that. Intimidating students based upon their faith. We remember what happened in America, when individuals would block education for Americans based upon the color of their skin. Why isn’t it the same uproar today? Why isn’t the actions of this administration taking the actions of where John Kennedy took back then, where his brother, as the attorney general, sent the troops in to make sure those students would get to class? I mean, how does Biden sit by being the leader of the free world, knowing that he’s the president of the United States? Understanding history of what’s transpiring and allow this to continue on. You know, if we’re concerned about what’s happening on these college campuses, just wait to see what’s going to happen at the Democratic convention.

Guy Benson: That’s, I think, a preview. I think we’re seeing it now. What’s coming down the pike. And we’ll have more to say later in the show, actually about Congresswoman and UCLA.

Kevin McCarthy: It’s a University of California college.

Guy Benson: Public.

Kevin McCarthy: Public. Where’s the governor? This. This also builds with the wokeism of what they wanted to put into these universities for presidents, not focus on education.

Guy Benson: And now this is the outgrowth of it, right?

Kevin McCarthy: It totally is.

Guy Benson: Yeah. And your point about Omar and I said we’re going to refer more to her later in the show. She has these occasional outbursts of antisemitism. I think she’s absent.

Kevin McCarthy: Her daughter is a part of Columbia. Was a part of this? Yeah.

Guy Benson: Barnard. And then.

Kevin McCarthy: Here comes the squad to defend.

Guy Benson: It. Oh, she was hugging the guy who said that he wants all Zionist dead and might want to kill them himself. I mean, that was is.

Kevin McCarthy: That not hate speech?

Guy Benson: He was embraced by Ilhan Omar, who years ago, when you guys were still in the minority, Pelosi was speaker. She had one of her occasional anti-Semitic outbursts, clearly textbook antisemitism. And they couldn’t even pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism because the party rushed to defend her. They watered it down and turned it into an all lives matter.

Kevin McCarthy: Exactly.

Guy Benson: You know, condemnation. You’re saying that the seeds of what we’re seeing on campus right now have been sown for a while, even on Capitol Hill.

Kevin McCarthy: Connect the dots. Congresswoman Omar comes to Congress. Less than 12,000 people have ever had that privilege. She grew up in a foreign land, and America did what America does best. It opens up her arms, right? Brings people in that wants a more perfect union. But she somehow hates this country. Her hate speech went in. Now who is in the first protest in these colleges is arrested. Her daughter. Who knows where the funding comes from? Who celebrates it and brings her friends, other members of Congress to defend what they’re doing against America.

Guy Benson: She just she just at Columbia called Jewish students who support Israel pro genocide. I know that Don bacon from Nebraska is drawing up a censure resolution for her. Should she be censured?

Kevin McCarthy: Yes. Look, I removed her for foreign. From foreign affairs for a reason. Yeah, people can have difference of opinion, but the hate speech to have. I think if she was getting classified briefings on what’s happening in the Middle East, who would she share them with? You wonder.

Guy Benson: Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy with us here in studio. So it was a real bear of a journey to get to the speakership. Covered that here every day for what was a week or whatever.

Kevin McCarthy: It was good radio, though, wasn’t it? It was more people are watching C-Span than in any time of C-Span history.

Guy Benson: The ratings bonanza for C-Span, for sure. And then you had the gavel. Then there was a group of people, a very small group of people, but the majority was so small that there’s.

Kevin McCarthy: Just eight, but all the Democrats. But you, you know, you missed that time between the speakership and that transpiring. Think about what we did. We had the largest cut in American history more than $2 trillion. Reformed welfare. Nepa reform pulled back $20 billion from the IRS that was already funded to do those, audits. We passed H.R. two, the toughest border security bill, parents Bill of rights. We passed, energy independence. I mean, every week we were building and building, passing some of the. If you look at the first six months, is one of the most productive, times in Congress people have had. But then you have one member of Congress, Matt Gates, who has an ethics complaint against him, who came to me to try to get me to influence the ethics Committee. And for America to understand the Ethics Committee is always equal number of Republicans and number of Democrats. I don’t ever talk to them. They can investigate me, I don’t know. And it was a, investigation that happened four years prior. See, there’s an allegation that he slept with a 17 year old and paid her. Now, is it is it viable? Well, they have a right to investigate it, but the people around him are in jail for it. And so he wanted me to somehow stop this, which I would not. So then he went and got seven other Republicans and every single Democrat to try to dictate who the speaker can be. And he was able to change that because the motion to vacate. Now, since that time, what has transpired? Have we been able to secure the border now? No, we missed that opportunity. When? When Israel was attacked on October 7th. He had just removed me. Was there any action? No. It took six months later. What type of message is that send to Iran and the rest of the world when we’re looking in the 1930s.

Guy Benson: And now your successor.

Kevin McCarthy: Eight wanted to deal worked with all of the Democrats.

Guy Benson: Now your successor eventually Mike Johnson, he’s under fire as well from some of the same characters, but it’s kind of a different group. Marjorie Taylor Greene was more of an ally of yours. Now she’s going after Speaker Johnson here, apparently is going to be. Here we go again. Motion to vacate.

Kevin McCarthy: Potentially. It won’t go anywhere.

Guy Benson: You don’t think it’ll succeed?

Kevin McCarthy: No, no, no. The Democrats said they want that. They’ll do they’ll table it. But I mean, the things you have to look at now since that transpired, remember I was leader for five years. During those five years Pelosi was speaker for those. We gained five seats in California, Republicans said. We gained five in New York. We won the majority in both election cycles when Republicans lost the presidency. Both cycles, they lost the Senate, legislature and governors. You know what? Never lost Congress? In fact, when Biden won the presidency, do you know the House? The House, yeah. But you didn’t realize in when Biden won the presidency four years ago, was the first time since 1994 no Republican incumbent lost. And if you watch what we were able to do about recruiting, we elected the most women, the most minorities in congressional history for Republicans. We raised more money. Just the superPAC I raised had more money than the triple C in their super PAC combined. The candidates more. And now where are we? Well, we haven’t been able to move anything. We didn’t get border. The Democrats got the bill they wanted to pass. You now have Democrats with more money.

Guy Benson: Do you think that was a mistake by Speaker Johnson?

Kevin McCarthy: Well, what I look at, look, if you’re the speaker of the House, you control, you’re the majority. What you should do is negotiate directly with the president. Would I ever have gotten 2 trillion in cuts? Welfare reform, Nepa reform and take the IRS money? If I sat down with Hakeem and, Schumer. They would never agree to that. The power you have, a speaker’s being the majority. What comes to the floor? Now what you got to put strategy behind it. So when October 7th happen, I think a fatal mistake here was not funding Israel right then when they decided to put a pay for. It never went anywhere. Right. And seven months later they came back and passed funding for it. You should have sent it right there to make sure Iran would never attack Israel. And the rest of the world knew where we stood. You also then put Ukraine equal to the border. Then you should have gone directly to the president and negotiated the border. And this all could have been done by November. But now all you got was Ukraine and funding for Israel, but you got no border. And all the Democrats wanted were those two things. So you gave up your leverage and your power. You’re the majority. You’re the speaker. You determine, come to the floor. So you got you can’t expect the Senate Republicans in the minority to negotiate the deal you wanted on immigration and say, you got to negotiate. Then I’ll decide whether I bring it up.

Guy Benson: Let me ask you about leverage, because part of the reduced leverage that the Republicans have right now in the House is the majority was already small. It’s gotten even smaller. It’s down to like, microscopic if you can.

Kevin McCarthy: That doesn’t make a difference if it’s five or if it’s one oh it’s 217 to 213. It’s four seats. Listen, when you’re tight like that, sometimes you’re focused better. Is it tough? Yeah, but it’s just as tough here as it was with 2 or 3 more seats, because the other two seats are being filled in. The next month. My seat will be filled on the 21st of this month. So then there’s another one.

Guy Benson: When critics say you applied for a job for two years and you left the position when you lost the speakership, you left Congress. They say, that’s not a great look. He should stay and finish the term. What’s your response to that?

Kevin McCarthy: You know, that’s a fair criticism. And and what I went through and what the decision making like after we went out, a number of people said you should go win more seats again because you’ve always won as leader and come back and be speaker again. Okay. So if I was out raising money and recruiting candidates, is that helping the speaker? Is that undercutting the speaker, the new speaker? The new speaker? Yeah, no. And if we win more seats, should I run for speaker? The speaker should be still be speaker. Now, I’m not on any committees. I did everything else. And there’s a couple things that are personal that I looked at. I’m 50. I was 58 years old. My father died at age 58. That’s that was weighing on me and all perspective of what I do. I’ve also done everything within Congress. It was difficult if I went to the conferences and the new speaker, Mike Johnson, is there, because if I get up and talk people, if 96% of them support me and I say something that is that undercutting, it’s kind of like and.

Guy Benson: Pelosi’s doing it right on the other side.

Kevin McCarthy: Oh yeah. Because she’s undercutting Hakeem every day.

Guy Benson: Oh really?

Kevin McCarthy: Oh, why is she staying? Does she not think Hakeem can lead? I mean, it undercut if you privately. Look Hakeem hates that she’s still there. It it bothers him to no end. That she’s still there. Why is she still.

Guy Benson: You hear that from Democrats?

Kevin McCarthy: Yeah, I heard it from all the time. They’re frustrated. They’re not alone. Okay, if you’re running a company and you put a new CEO in, are you still going to go in and running? I mean, what I told Mike at the very beginning. I won’t come to conference unless you want me to, because it harms him in a way. He’s got to be able to and be allowed and not able, but be allowed to be the speaker.

Guy Benson: So let me ask you this. We only have about two minutes left. You’ve now been out for a while here a couple months.

Kevin McCarthy: And the the the last thing to. I tell you, I knew Higgins was leaving the Democrat. So if I left at that time, my seat could be filled this month. So as the Democrat comes in, the Republican. So there would be no loss.

Guy Benson: Yeah, that’s part of the calculation. Yeah. I just quickly hear you’re now on the outside watching this. You’re not as in it. You’re not in the front row involved in the room. It gives you a different perspective on some of it. Now it does. You were marveling during the break, one minute left, about how much worse the president has been than you ever expected from the outside. Has that hit you harder?

Kevin McCarthy: Yeah. I mean, if you look at inflation, you look at our standing around the world. I still have a lot of world leaders I talk to on a regular basis. And they’re just wondering what’s happening to America, right? I’ve I’ve worked with this president when he’s vice president. And other times he’s not the same man that he was before. You can’t have an attack on Israel and be the world leader and have to put a lid on that that day. You’ve got to be able to go out and communicate. I’ve watched what he has done just from a philosophical basis. It’s no different than having Bernie Sanders in, but Bernie Sanders is more with it than he is. And that’s the difficulty we have. We’re leaderless now. Will he get reelected? I doubt it. When he won last time he won by 48,918 votes. And his favorability was plus 1020…

Guy Benson: Swing states right in the…

Kevin McCarthy: Swing. Yeah. But your electoral college, it’s just the swing states in a matter. And so now if you look at his polling where it was with Hispanics and Black Americans, he’s still carrying them, but not like he was before.

Guy Benson: So you think Trump’s going to win?

Kevin McCarthy: If the election was today, Trump would win. But the election’s in November. Anybody? It could have changed.

Guy Benson: What did you take a role in a Trump administration if he wins?

Kevin McCarthy: Look, my point is I support Trump. I want Trump to win. I’m going to help any way I can. I believe being a public servant, you’d help anybody. If if I’m the best person to do something and someone calls, I’d look at it. I would do it. But that’s not what I’m looking to do. No.

Guy Benson: Okay. Kevin McCarthy, former speaker of the House, with us in studio here on the Guy Benson Show. We got a lot in there. It’s great to see you. Thanks for doing this.

Kevin McCarthy: Thank you.

Guy Benson: We’ll be right back.