Kevin McCarthy is widely expected to take over the House’s top spot from Speaker John Boehner, but not everyone is a fan of the California Republican.
Problems with McCarthy have led to outcries for someone like South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to run for Speaker. So far, McCarthy’s only opponent is Florida Republican Daniel Webster. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, recently the victim of a revenge plot by the Secret Service, is also rumored to be considering a run.
Here are 5 concerns some have raised about McCarthy:
1. He’s John Boehner’s BFF.
McCarthy is immensely close with current Speaker John Boehner. The two are cut from the same ideological cloth, with voting records almost in lockstep. While McCarthy is considered much more friendly than Boehner and Conservatives believe that will translate into a much more inclusive Speaker McCarthy, his close ties with Boehner remain a concern for many members of the conference.
2. His Benghazi comments.
Congressman Trey Gowdy has worked diligently to keep the House Select Committee on Benghazi as professional and free of political posturing-at least as much as one can in D.C. For McCarthy to jeapordize over two years of hard work is quite noteable, a relatively rare major gaffe that may give Clinton wiggle room to bail on the committee and avoid her October 22nd showdown with Gowdy and the rest of the committee at a highly anticipated hearing less than three weeks from now.
3. He isn’t the smoothest talker.
McCarthy has been ridiculed by some as lacking the speaking skills needed for a high profile leadership position. A House Speaker must often do media interviews, Sunday shows, radio, and much more.
Dana Milbank wrote this week:
“Kevin McCarthy is about to ascend to the highest office in the House of Representatives and become second in line to the presidency. But there is a problem: The speaker-apparent apparently still can’t speak.
I have been tracking the California Republican’s valiant but often unsuccessful struggles with the English language for some time now, and I was alarmed to watch him lose another round on Monday during a foreign-policy speech… “
4. He supports “amnesty light.”
As a top tier issue among many conservatives, immigration policy is a closely watched topic. For McCarthy, the California legislator comes down on the more liberal side of things, essentially backing a limited amnesty option.
McCarthy said it was his “personal belief” that a GOP immigration package ought to have a provision to allow someone to obtain “legal status that will allow you to work and pay your taxes.”
5. His voting record isn’t the most conservative.
Amnesty light isn’t the only issue. McCarthy, like Boehner, has backed ObamaTrade, multiple debt ceiling increases, the “CRomnibus,” and other significant legislation that has drawn a fierce reaction from conservatives. Because of that voting record, McCarthy has poor numbers from conservative rating groups. For example, McCarthy sports a lackluster 61% from Heritage Action.
Also: He’s from California.
Aside from jokes about how liberal the state is, the California GOP has been struggling for years. Some believe McCarthy can’t relate to the concerns of other members because he’s in a safe Republican enclave of a relatively blue state, contrary to most of the House GOP. Whether that makes him “out of touch” remains to be fully seen. One benefit Cali does provide though: access to plenty of campaign cash…
>>>Some interesting facts about McCarthy you may not know:
He celebrated with Kate Upton on the supermodel’s 21st birthday, and also showed Kevin Spacey the ropes while he was researching D.C. in order to play Rep. Frank Underwood (D-SC) on House of Cards. Underwood’s office in the show is actually modeled after McCarthy’s.
He’s also a huge movie fan.
According to the Huffington Post, McCarthy used a clip to prepare the conference for a big debate and former Rep. Allen West got fired up.
“In 2011, McCarthy showed a scene from the movie “The Town” to motivate his colleagues during a House Republican Caucus meeting on the debt debate.
“I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people,” Ben Affleck says in the scene.
“Whose car are we gonna take?” Jeremy Renner replies.
According to GOP aides, then-Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) responded to the clip by saying, “I’m ready to drive the car.”