In an interview that was broadcast on Sunday, former House Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that California’s Kevin McCarthy was “excellent for conservatives” and that no one else would be “better prepared” to lead the House GOP conference.
McCarthy is working to secure the necessary votes to run the lower chamber but has run into difficulties because several Freedom Caucus members, including Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Matt Gaetz of Florida, have vowed not to support him. McCarthy is poised to become speaker in January in a House with a razor-thin GOP majority.
Having a slim majority, according to Ryan, would bring together GOP MPs. Ryan, who served as speaker from October 2015 to January 2019 under stronger Republican majorities, said this to ABC News writer Jonathan Karl.
“Nothing brings people together like a really narrow majority. That in and of itself serves as a unifier. I’ve served in the House where our majority have been relatively narrow. It helps people understand that they must work as a team in order to accomplish their goals and that they cannot always achieve what they want. Having said that, it will be challenging, “added he.
Ryan also voiced confidence in McCarthy’s capacity to lead Republicans and said he thought the legislator would receive at least 218 votes on the floor.
He predicted, “I think he’ll get 218.” “Nobody is more qualified to lead this conference than Kevin McCarthy. Frankly, he has helped conservatives, but he also has a strong grasp of conference management.”
Ryan responded when Karl questioned him about McCarthy’s alliance with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and other Freedom Caucus members by saying that part of the job is knowing how to develop coalitions.
“When you are the speaker of the House inside your own party, you run a coalition government, and we recently elected a number of New Yorkers and Californians from what I would call more centrist moderate areas. They are the ones who have the most influence. Kevin is aware of this, thus you must lead a coalition “said he.
Ryan continued, “He’s leading a coalition administration. He requires the cooperation of the entire conference, which he must also inspire.
Republicans would have a “completely nonfunctional majority” with such a slim margin, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who serves on the House January 6 committee and is leaving at the conclusion of the current Congress, told Charlie Sykes of The Bulwark last week.
Republicans are expected to have a 219-211 advantage in the House next year; 218 seats are needed to take control of the chamber. Only a few races remain to be called.
Ryan also commented on his successor, Californian House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who co-edited the new book “American Renewal: A Conservative Plan to Strengthen the Social Contract and Save the Country’s Finances” with Angela Rachidi of the American Enterprise Institute.
Ryan was the chamber’s leader when Pelosi was the minority leader; she will shortly stand down from her position as head of the House Democratic Caucus, a position she has held for almost 20 years.
Ryan praised Pelosi’s tenure as speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011 and 2019 to the present, as well as her time in Congress as a whole, saying, “It’s an outstanding legacy.”
“Obviously, she and I frequently have different opinions. First female speaker, however, is a career to be proud of “said he.
“In addition, I find myself thinking about her husband Paul a lot lately. I’m really sorry for what transpired to them “Ryan continued, alluding to the intruder’s assault on the speaker’s spouse at their San Francisco home.
Paul Pelosi retaliated against his assailant but was struck in the head with a hammer and sent to the hospital with a fractured skull. Since then, he has been freed.
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