Kevin McCarthy hints at return with volleys at Republican foes

 February 15, 2024

Kevin McCarthy made a surprise appearance on Capitol Hill, where he fired off volleys at the Republicans who orchestrated his ouster.

The former House Speaker sounded bitter and certainly not at peace with the way his career ended - leading to speculation that he is plotting a return to power.

He urged Republican Nancy Mace (R-SC) to "get help" and claimed Matt Gaetz (R-FL) isn't as close to President Trump as he claims.

“I hope Nancy gets the help she needs. I really do,” McCarthy said.

Kevin McCarthy hints at return

Mace built a reputation as an anti-Trump moderate during her first two years in Congress, leaving many surprised when she joined Gaetz in the effort to oust McCarthy in October.

The former House Speaker stepped down in December after being forced out of his leadership role in a historic vote.

His successor, Mike Johnson (R-LA), has faced threats of removal from Republicans angry over his concessions to Democrats - who in turn have blasted Johnson for blocking aid to Ukraine and a "border bill" touted by President Biden.

As Johnson struggles, McCarthy seems to still have one foot in Washington.

In comments to reporters Tuesday, McCarthy seemed to have his eye on his old job as he laced into Gaetz, the ringleader of the anti-McCarthy coup.

Asked whether Trump approved of Gaetz's move, McCarthy said Gaetz exaggerates his closeness to Trump and "probably lies about who he sleeps with, too."

No apologies from Gaetz, Mace

McCarthy also bashed Mace in highly personal terms, urging her to "straighten out" her life.

“I mean, she’s got a lot of challenges," McCarthy said. "No one will stay working for her. You can’t have somebody who just flips and flops based upon what TV station she gets put on. You want someone who’s willing to work, and so I hope she gets that kind of help.”

Mace has become known for her provocative behavior and use of obscene language, leading critics to label her a publicity hound. She has aligned herself more closely with Trump, leading to speculation of VP ambitions.

Donors loyal to McCarthy have cut off financial support for Mace, Gaetz, and the six other Republicans who sided with Democrats to boot McCarthy.

Mace has dismissed McCarthy's criticism, saying, "I’ll be there serving my constituents as I always have, and he won’t be there at all."

For his part, Gaetz blasted McCarthy as the "ghost of Christmas past" lingering where he isn't wanted.

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