House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Politico in an interview on Friday that he has the votes on the “first day” to become the next House Minority Leader.
In an interview with Politico, McCarthy said he had already locked enough support in the House Republican conference to become the next House Minority Leader.“I had the votes the first day,” McCarthy contended.
The House Republican conference will vote next week to decide who will lead them in the minority after they lost their majority during the 2018 midterms.
Republicans will choose between McCarthy and House Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has the backing of the conservative and populist wing of House Republicans.
In the interview, McCarthy insisted that he wants to change the country for the better.
“I never ran for Congress to be Speaker, I ran to change the country,” McCarthy said. “So whatever position I am in, that’s my No. 1 focus.”
McCarthy added, “It’s not about me. Am I disappointed we don’t have the majority? Yeah. But it’s not about me.”
The California Republican said Jordan’s challenge does not bother him and that the competition between him and the Ohio congressman would benefit the House Republican conference.
McCarthy said of Jordan’s bid for Minority Leader, “I think it’s good, I think it’s healthy.”
McCarthy first ran for Speaker of the House in 2015 after Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) but withdrew facing opposition from Jordan and the House Freedom Caucus, which led to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) becoming the next and current Speaker of the House.
McCarthy credits his close relationship with President Donald Trump as one of his better qualifications to become the next Minority Leader.
The House Majority Leader touted the president’s campaigning for many of the big Republican victories during the midterms.
“I don’t think you would have a Republican governor of Ohio or Georgia or Florida if the president didn’t go in and campaign in the manner which they did,” McCarthy said.
The House Republican leader suggested that House Democrats will attempt to impeach President Trump despite what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says now, and that the blowback will guarantee Trump another term in the White House.
McCarthy contended, “They will not be able to control themselves. If they impeach the president in the House, they reelect the president.”
The Republican leader also said that Democrat leadership will face increasing pressure to pass legislation such as “Medicare for All,” which would establish a government-run socialized medicine scheme that cost roughly $38 trillion over ten years.
“They’re coming back to Pelosi, to Steny, to Clyburn?” McCarthy asked rhetorically. “These Democrats come in as much more progressive; they feel unleashed about going much further to the left.”