House GOP bridge-burners are eyeing the exits
Some of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) biggest headaches can be explained by a familiar element of politics: Ambition.
Driving the news: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a particular thorn in the speaker’s side, is exploring whether to leave Congress for a cable news gig, potentially with CNN, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
- The conservative Freedom Caucus member has helped to kill McCarthy’s efforts to fund the government while appearing frequently on CNN to criticize the Biden impeachment inquiry the speaker launched to try to appease conservatives.
- “I am interested in talking to folks at CNN and other news organizations,” Buck told the Post, though he said he won’t necessarily leave during this congressional session.
The big picture: Buck isn't alone in pricking McCarthy with one hand while updating his resumé with the other.
- Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), who is running for state attorney general, and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is supposedly eyeing a run for governor, are among McCarthy's harshest critics and have openly entertained trying to oust him.
- Gaetz also has been locked in a public war of words this week with Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), a possible gubernatorial rival in Florida, over Donalds' work with mainstream Republicans on a short-term government funding bill.
- Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who has opposed McCarthy in nearly every major fight this Congress, from the speaker election to government funding, is considering a run against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
- Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), another persistent McCarthy critic, is eyeing a run for Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's seat. Rosendale would be seen as a conservative-outsider alternative to Republican Tim Sheehy, a business executive recruited by the GOP establishment.
The latest: McCarthy suffered a highly public loss Tuesday when his effort to advance a bill to fund the Pentagon failed because of five GOP defections.
- Among the defectors: Bishop, Norman, Rosendale and Buck — who switched to voting against the measure after retiring Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) flipped to voting for it.
The intrigue: It’s not just McCarthy’s critics whose sometimes confounding strategy might be explained by their having an eye toward the exit.
- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) who has transitioned from a freshman leadership foil to sophomore McCarthy loyalist, has mused about a serving on former President Trump’s ticket or in his Cabinet if Trump is re-elected.