Politics

McCarthy Denies Talk of Forcing Ryan Out of Speaker Post

Mulvaney said he's talked to McCarthy about that privately but McCarthy denies

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, denies that he’s trying to force Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, to give up his gavel early. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday denied that he is trying to force Speaker Paul D. Ryan to give up his gavel early to trigger a speaker race before the November election. 

“Paul is here until the end of the election,” the California Republican said when asked if he definitely will not run for speaker before the November election. 

McCarthy denied a report in The Weekly Standard that he had a conversation with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about pushing Ryan out early. 

“There is no plan and Mick has not talked to me about coming up with a plan,” he said. 

“Mulvaney is a longtime friend. We go to dinner when we’re back here on the early nights. The only thing Mulvaney has ever talked about was, ‘Were you going to run for speaker if we keep the majority?’ Nothing different than that whatsoever,” McCarthy added. 

Mulvaney was reportedly asked by Fox News host Bret Baier during a Colorado conference hosted by The Weekly Standard what he thought of the idea that Ryan should step down early to allow McCarthy to become speaker this year.

“I’ve talked with Kevin about this privately but not as much publicly,” Mulvaney reportedly said. “Wouldn’t it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That’s a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it.”

When a reporter read Mulvaney’s quote to him, McCarthy said he and Mulvaney do talk about how divided the Democrats are.

“Talk to Mulvaney; I don’t know, but no way did we ever have any conversations about Paul leaving,” he said. 

The majority leader also reacted to a preceding Weekly Standard report that said McCarthy and President Donald Trump were involved in a plan being discussed by top Republicans in Congress and the White House to push Ryan out of his post this summer. 

“That is not true,” McCarthy said. I don’t know what somebody is trying to create here, but not true.”

McCarthy also denied that Friday’s failure of the farm bill reflected poorly on Ryan or that he has become weakened with his lame-duck status. 

“Yes, he shows it every day,” McCarthy said when asked if he thinks Ryan is still a viable speaker. 

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