McCarthy focused on election, not Freedom Caucus push to remove Pelosi

Freedom Caucus wants minority leader to go after the speaker

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he is focused on the election. (CQ Roll Call)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he is focused on the election. (CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 17, 2020 at 1:48pm

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday dodged a question on whether he will bring a motion to vacate to remove Speaker Nancy Pelosi from her post, an effort the Freedom Caucus was urging him to pursue.

“I do not want Nancy Pelosi to be speaker, but I do not want Nadler to be chair. I do not want Schiff to be chair and I do not want Maxine Waters,” McCarthy told reporters at his weekly news conference, referring to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif. “Forty-some days from now, we will remove them.”

On Wednesday, Politico reported that the House’s ultraconservative wing was urging McCarthy to offer a motion to vacate the chair, which would mandate a floor vote to decide whether Pelosi could keep her position. With Democrats in the majority, it is unlikely such a move would result in enough votes to remove her from the speakership.

McCarthy is undecided on whether he will join the effort, but he did agree to have a Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday about the matter, Politico reported. He also told Fox News after the story broke that it wasn’t the best move right now.

McCarthy’s comments at his weekly news conference indicate he is focused on the election in November and doesn’t want to grapple with such questions until the voters decide which party will carry the majority.

In 2015, the Freedom Caucus threatened such a move on a speaker from its own party, John A. Boehner of Ohio. While none of the members followed through, Boehner quit before the end of his term shortly after the caucus started making noises about doing so.

Rep. Randy Weber, a Texas Republican who is a member of the Freedom Caucus, said his caucus’ constituents are tired of Pelosi’s leadership.

“Our base is tired of the way the country is getting run into the ground,” Weber said. “All the lies told about the president, them trying to blame everything on him. First, he was racist for denying Chinese into the country; then he didn’t act fast enough. It’s a double standard.”

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.