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Is Kevin McCarthy Secretly Courting Pro-Impeachment Republicans to Support Him In a Bid For Speaker?

Is Kevin McCarthy Secretly Courting Pro-Impeachment Republicans to Support Him In a Bid For Speaker?

In new interviews with both HillReporter and CNN, Trump-endorsed Joe Kent of Washington State’s third district is claiming that Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is quietly working to prop up some of the GOP incumbents targeted by Donald Trump in a bid to win back the House majority and take over Nancy Pelosi’s position as Speaker of the House.

Half of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6th insurrection — Reps. David Valadao of California, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, both of Michigan –are actively participating in a joint fundraising committee with McCarthy and his leadership PAC, which has raised roughly $100,000 for each of the five campaigns in the first half of the year. Known as “Take Back the House 2022”, the new PAC has not raised money for the other five lawmakers: Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Dan Newhouse of Washington State, and Tom Rice of South Carolina, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. However, McCarthy’s leadership group, Majority Committee PAC, donated $10,000 to Gonzalez’s campaign at the end of March.

[Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images]
The GOP leadership’s effort to aid the campaigns of these embattled Republicans has put them at odds with Trump while rankling some conservatives. “McCarthy is talking out of one side of his mouth, saying that he supports the MAGA movement, Trump and President Trump’s policies, but his money is supporting Jaime Herrera Beutler and four of the other impeachment voters,” Joe Kent told CNN. “It’s just part of the GOP grift. So me and the rest of the base, we’ve kind of heard enough from them.”

When Kent agreed to sit down with me for HillReporter, I asked him if he was prepared to accept the results of his primary election and he told me in no uncertain terms that he is already calling for an audit without a vote being cast. Kent’s line is being repeated elsewhere throughout the country by other Trump-endorsed candidates creating their own truths regarding election integrity.

Herrera Beutler was almost hauled in as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial after she publicly divulged details about McCarthy and Trump’s phone call on January 6th, and she may yet be asked to testify before the January 6th Select Committee. When Kent was asked whether he would support McCarthy for Speaker one day if he’s elected to Congress, Kent replied: “Absolutely not.”

Unsurprisingly, McCarthy hasn’t lifted a finger to help Cheney or Kinzinger, the most outspoken Trump critics in the Republican conference, who both agreed to serve on the select committee investigating January 6th. There’s also no risk of Cheney’s seat falling into Democratic hands, while Kinzinger could be redistricted out. Earlier this year, McCarthy did move to boot Cheney from his leadership team for repeatedly calling out Trump’s lies about the election. But some on the right are pushing him to go even further. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus sent a letter to McCarthy last week calling on him to remove Cheney and Kinzinger from the GOP conference entirely.

And Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is under federal investigation for potential sex and human trafficking crimes, has lit into McCarthy for not taking a harder line.

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“How can we trust Kevin McCarthy to go beyond talking tough to Nancy Pelosi when he won’t even stand up to Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger?” Gaetz said on his YouTube channel this week.

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