Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., suggested on Monday she would support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for Speaker and said it would be a “bad strategy” for fellow Republicans to challenge him for the gavel.
Greene made the comments to former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon on his “War Room” podcast.
“We’re looking at having a very razor-thin majority, with potentially 219 — we’re talking about one vote,” the congresswoman said, referring to the projected Republican House majority.
A party needs 218 seats in the House to secure a majority, and the final results of the 2022 election are still yet to be determined. The Associated Press has Republicans one seat shy of the majority as of Monday night while the Democrats are sitting with 205.
McCarthy is looking to secure the GOP nomination for House Speaker after leadership elections are held on Tuesday.
Nobody stood up to challenge him during House Republicans’ closed-door candidate forum for leadership positions on Monday, but members still have time to do so. House members may also vote for anyone on the floor.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., is reportedly planning to challenge McCarthy for the Speaker’s gavel. He is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which has been divided on whether McCarthy deserves their support.
“All I’ll say at the moment is McCarthy doesn’t have 218, and there will be an alternative challenger,” Biggs spokesman Matthew Tragessersaid in a statement Monday.
Greene cautioned that challenging McCarthy could open the door for Republicans she views as unfavorable to become the GOP leader.
“It’s very, very risky right now to produce a leadership challenge, especially for Speaker of the House, when they are going to open the door and allow Liz Cheney, possibly, to become Speaker,” she told Bannon.
Cheney is slated to leave Congress in January after losing her Wyoming primary election to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in August. However, House rules permit a nonmember to be elected speaker. Cheney is not believed to be campaigning for the position.
“The danger is this, do we want to watch a challenge for Speaker of the House simply because the ‘Never Kevin’ movement — just like we’ve seen a ‘Never Trump’ movement — do we want to see that challenge open the door to Nancy Pelosi handing the gavel to Liz Cheney?” Greene asked.
Greene’s support for McCarthy comes after she told fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on his podcast last year that the GOP House leader “doesn’t have the full support to be Speaker.”
And last month, the congresswoman told New York Magazine that McCarthy needs to give her more “power” and “leeway” to please Republican voters if the party takes control of the House.
Greene then said if McCarthy doesn’t do that, the voters will be “very unhappy about it.”
“And that’s not in any way a threat at all,” she continued. “I just think that’s reality.”