Fox News contributor and former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove says House Republicans’ infighting over who should be the next Speaker is a complete “disaster.”
Rove told Fox News’s Sandra Smith on Tuesday that the conservative opponents to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) have “moved the goal posts” in the demands that he must meet to win their support for him claiming the Speakership.
“This is an utter, unmitigated disaster. Chaos tends to bring about chaos until it no longer brings about chaos,” Rove said. “We’re a long way from the point at which chaos stops bringing around more chaos.”
He said McCarthy made key concessions on two points to his opponents ahead of the first Speaker vote on Tuesday, agreeing to allow a motion to oust the Speaker with support from five House Republicans and create a select subcommittee on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.” But he said the opponents changed their terms after McCarthy agreed.
Rove said they wanted Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), one of those opposed to McCarthy, to become the chair of that subcommittee and for Perry to be able to choose who the members are, which could exceed the Speaker’s authority.
“And what was interesting was after McCarthy had conceded on their two big issues, they came up with a whole bunch of other demands,” he said.
The House was unable to select a Speaker on the first ballot for the first time in a century Tuesday and adjourned after failing to elect one after three ballots. On the third, 20 Republicans voted for someone other than McCarthy, the official Republican nominee, preventing him from winning the necessary 218 votes he needs.
McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes from members of the Republican conference if all members are present and vote for someone. The House will reconvene on Wednesday at noon to continue with the vote.
The House is not allowed to conduct any additional business, including swearing members in, until a Speaker is chosen.
Rove said he expects rank-and-file Republicans are unlikely to support the changes that McCarthy agreed to in his bid to become Speaker, so if McCarthy backs out of the race because he cannot get the votes he needs, the members of the party would likely withdraw the concessions that he made.
He said a group of Republican House members who have said they will only support McCarthy will be with him until he decides to step aside, and then discussions would need to be had about whom to turn to.