McCarthy opens the door to being speaker again as war rages in Israel

McCarthy opens the door to being speaker again as war rages in Israel

October 09, 2023 02:54 PM

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) opened the door to the possibility of him becoming speaker again if the wish of the Republican lawmakers is to have him leading the charge amid a crisis in Israel.

Since McCarthy was ousted from the top post in the House last week, the House has been at a standstill and unable to do anything other than adjourn and hold pro-forma sessions. With Israel under siege by Hamas, there isn’t much Congress can do to assist the nation.


Last week, after he was deposed, McCarthy announced that he would not be running for speaker again and leave the door open for new leadership to come up. But, on Monday, his tone shifted toward the idea of him possibly being speaker again this Congress.

This change of outlook toward the idea comes amid some GOP members whispering about the idea of trying to reelect McCarthy as speaker amid the international conflict.

“That’s a decision by the conference. I’ll allow the conference to make whatever decision,” McCarthy said at a press conference. “Whether I’m speaker or not, I’m a member of this body, and I can lead in any position.”

But, when pressed multiple times about whether he would accept the job, McCarthy kept saying it was up to the conference.

Currently, there are two members running for speaker: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH). It’s already going to be tough enough for the two current candidates to get to the 217 votes necessary to become speaker without McCarthy running. But with the former speaker teasing another bid, it might complicate things more ahead of Tuesday’s candidate forum and Wednesday’s voting, where allies of McCarthy might withhold supporting the two announced candidates in hopes that McCarthy decides to run.

Two GOP aides told the Washington Examiner that McCarthy jumping in would not be helpful for the conference and would only prolong the race for speaker.

“I, too, have dreams that will never come true,” one GOP aide said.

But with the turmoil in Israel, a number of staunch allies of the former speaker would like to see McCarthy regain the speaker’s gavel and lead the Republican conference. For example, following the press conference, Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) told reporters that there are “a lot of people who believe Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead us.”

Much of his media availability centered on McCarthy touting his bona fides in Israel and calling on President Joe Biden to do more to support Israel, laying out a five-point plan the administration should take on.

The steps included rescuing American hostages, being there for Israel by having Biden demand action, confronting Iran, focusing on America’s national security, and confronting antisemitism in the United States.

“We must counter this new axis of power,” he said. “It’s an evil axis of Iran, Russia, and China.”

McCarthy touted his relationship with government officials in Israel and the trip he took with a bipartisan group of members to Israel.

He also celebrated his accomplishments as speaker, which he says have left America in a stronger position to combat terrorism across the globe and support Israel, such as keeping the government open by passing a clean continuing resolution, which was the excuse used by some of the eight who voted to oust him as their reason for doing so.

“Could you imagine if we were sitting here and we listened further to Gaetz and Mac, and we were in a shutdown as we asked our 30,000 men and women in the military in the Middle East to defend us without being paid?” he said. “The question around the world of what was happening here today.”

While the government is not shut down, it still is in a holding pattern because the House is frozen without a speaker and can’t pass anything.


The Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) cannot pass a resolution supporting Israel, can’t pass legislation to give additional aid to the country, and he can’t receive classified briefings on the situation in Israel.

“Unfortunately, the House can do nothing without a speaker,” McCarthy said. “I can be upset with eight, but I can be upset with every single Democrat as well. They both made the same decision, a political decision, instead of putting America first.”