The prospects for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s tenure if he becomes Speaker of the House are grim, two outspoken lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said Sunday.
In separate interviews Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said McCarthy was a “weak leader” and predicted “chaos” among Republican leadership, while Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., predicted McCarthy would be “held hostage” by the GOP’s extreme wing, and wouldn’t last long in that role.
Last week, House Republicans chose McCarthy, a California Republican, to lead them in the next Congress, after the GOP clinched control following closer-than-expected midterm elections. But 31 Republicans opposed his nomination, leading to speculation that he may not have the votes to become House speaker.
In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Nation,” Kinzinger, who’s stepping down at the end of this term, said if elected speaker, McCarthy wouldn’t last.
“ “I, frankly, don’t think he’s going to last very long.” ”
— Rep. Adam Kinzinger
“I think he has cut so many deals with bad people to get to this position that I think he’s not going to be a leader at all,” Kinzinger said, according to a CNN transcript. The Illinois lawmaker is one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, and has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump and far-right Republicans such as Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“She will be newly empowered,” Kinzinger told CNN. “And the fact that she’s supporting Kevin McCarthy means that he’s made a lot of promises to her. Just, trust me, that’s how this business works.”
“I think [McCarthy] will be completely hostage to kind of the extreme wings of the Republican Party,” Kinzinger added. “And I, frankly, don’t think he’s going to last very long. Maybe he will prove me wrong. But it’s sad to see a man that I think had so much potential just totally sell himself.”
Schiff, in an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week,” agreed.
“I suspect he will do whatever Marjorie Taylor Greene wants him to do,” Schiff said, according to an ABC News transcript. “He is a very weak leader of his conference, meaning that he will adhere to the wishes of the lowest common denominator.”
“It’s going to be chaos with the Republican leadership and sadly, the kind of the crazy caucus has grown among the Republicans,” he added.
Like Kinzinger, Schiff is a member of the Jan. 6 panel, and led arguments in the second impeachment of Trump.