McCarthy on Leaving the House: That's a No

Ex-speaker addresses rumors; meanwhile, TV forum for his possible replacement falls through
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2023 9:30 AM CDT
McCarthy Addresses Whispers of Him Leaving the House
Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is seen at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Kevin McCarthy has already indicated he won't run for the House speaker position again, after a historic vote that booted him from that seat. On Thursday, the rumor mill started churning anew after sources told Politico and NBC News that the California Republican was considering stepping down from the House altogether before his term expires. McCarthy himself debunked that speculation on Friday, telling reporters he's in it for the long haul. "I am not resigning. I got a lot more work to do," he said on Capitol Hill. "We're going to keep the majority. I'm going to help the people I got here, and we're going to expand it further."

Meanwhile, plans for a televised "joint interview" forum featuring three contenders for the speaker seat—House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, who's yet to officially declare his candidacy—have now fallen through. The Hill reports that the "unusual" Monday event set to air on Fox News, with Bret Baier acting as host, drew criticism from some in the GOP who want selection of their candidate for speaker, who'll go up against the Democrats' Hakeem Jeffries, to be hashed out privately.

"This is a bad idea," Rep. John Duarte tells Axios, calling such an event a "lapse in judgment." "Right now we've got a lot to work out that's very delicate, emotions and otherwise, and this is not going to help our conference work through some very difficult times," he says. Another GOPer who wished to remain anonymous added, "It's the height of idiocy." As word started circulating about the forum, Hern said he had no intention of taking part; a Jordan spokesperson says Jordan only wanted to participate if the forum took place after the GOP's scheduled closed-door conference set for Tuesday. Scalise then pulled out after seeing the reactions of the other two. (More Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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