Oct 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy calls House speaker chaos "embarrassing" for GOP

Rep. Kevin McCarty (R-Calif.) appears on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Oct. 22, 2023.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the repeated failed effort to elect a new Speaker of the House is "embarrassing" for the U.S. and the Republican Party as the House enters its third week without a leader.

Driving the news: With failed bids from Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Republicans have moved to the third round of potential candidates hoping to break the stalemate with some hard-right party members who have repeatedly voted with Democrats.

  • Nine candidates have put their names into consideration for speaker, including current House majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).

What they're saying: "I would have hoped that everyone would come together, put the country before the politics, and actually solve this," McCarthy said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press.

  • "This is embarrassing for the Republican Party. It's embarrassing for the nation. And we need to look at one another and solve the problem," the former speaker said, adding that both Jordan and Scalise could have "done the job" as speaker.
  • McCarthy also blamed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and seven other Republicans for putting the House in its current situation but said he would do "the exact same thing again" in pushing a vote to keep the U.S. government open.
  • "Could you imagine if we were having this discussion right now with the American government shut down, with our troops in the Middle East wondering when they'll ever get paid again?" he asked "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker.

Worth noting: When pressed on potentially re-entering the speaker race, McCarthy told Welker, "I don't need the title."

  • "I'm supporting Tom Emmer," McCarthy said. "But I'm going to tell you: I'm still a member of Congress, and I'm going to lead in any capacity to protect America."
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