The petty backlash against Democrats in the House after they refused to help save Republican leadership from their own caucus stems right from the top, with Kevin McCarthy leading the charge as he seeks revenge for the embarrassing end to his speakership.
CNN reported on Wednesday that House speaker pro tem Patrick McHenry authorised the eviction of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi from her “hideaway”-style office in the main Capitol building, instead exiling her to the broader House office complex where lawmakers not connected to leadership have their workspaces.
Steny Hoyer, formerly the Democratic caucus’ majority leader, also saw himself evicted this week.
Rep Garrett Graves, a Republican, confirmed to CNN that Mr McCarthy wanted Ms Pelosi’s office, and that the move had been granted as the office space in question is typically granted to former speakers.
Echoing the claim that “Democrats” were the ones who wanted a new speaker in his statement, Mr Graves’s remark exhibited much of the unwillingness to confront the actual problem — unrest and chaos within his own caucus — that has defined Mr McCarthy’s own handling of the situation. The former speaker has complained repeatedly about Democrats not voting to save his job despite Republican members bringing the vote against him and having been the ones to demand the rule change to make such a motion possible in the first place.
“Look the deal is that the office that Pelosi is in right now is the office of the preceding speaker. Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats determined that they wanted a new … speaker, and it’s Kevin McCarthy. So, he’s getting the office,” Mr Graves told CNN.
Democrats have questioned why Mr McCarthy expected any Democrat to vote for him after he dishonestly accused their caucus of nearly causing a shutdown over the weekend. The reality of the situation was that Mr McCarthy relied on Democratic lawmakers voting as a bloc to keep the government open when a majority of his own caucus could not pass budget resolutions or any emergency funding measures in time.
And Republicans who are not within the McCarthy leadership bubble have equally discouraging things to say about Mr McCarthy and his allies’ ability to lead.
GOP lawmakers in leadership watched this week as Tim Burchett, a conservative holdout who voted against Mr McCarthy’s efforts to fund the government over the weekend, accused the speaker directly of belittling his faith and speaking to him in a condescending manner as negotiations over the government shutdown and motion to oust the speaker were considered.
“When someone mocks me like that and mocks my religion—and honestly the Bible is pretty clear about God being mocked—so that’s what sealed it right there for me. I said: ‘this is not the quality or the character of person that I want as Speaker of the United States,’” the Republican lawmaker told CNN of his conversation with Mr McCarthy.
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