House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is running for House speaker with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Still, McCarthy has yet to win support from a majority of voting representatives, even after six rounds of voting.
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, a leading holdout conservative Republican that won’t back McCarthy, stirred controversy by asking Trump to retract his endorsement. Boebert said on the House floor Wednesday, “Even having my favorite president call us and tell us we need to knock this off. I think it actually needs to be reversed. The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy that, sir, you do not have the votes, and it’s time to withdraw.”
On Wednesday, Fox News host Sean Hannity pressed Boebert on her comment… and he grew so “frustrated” he lost his cool.
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“You said to President Trump, ‘He doesn’t have the 218. So you need to ask him to withdraw,'” Hannity observed. “Kevin McCarthy has 202-3 votes, your side has 20. So, if I’m going to use your words and your methodology and your math, isn’t it time for you to pack it in and your side to pack it in, considering he has over 200 and you have 20?”
Boebert said, “Well, Sean, he needs 218, and he does not have 218.”
“Neither do you,” Hannity hit back.
“Yesterday you voted, and Jim Jordan was your choice. Today, Byron Donalds was your choice. Tomorrow I don’t know who you’re going to vote for, but the bottom line is that you still only have 20 votes,” Hannity observed. “Who is your final choice for speaker, and if you can’t get more than — let’s say — 30 votes, will you follow your own advice that you were asking Donald Trump and withdraw?”
“I think we’re proving that we’re open to a menu of options,” Boebert said. “Maybe I should nominate President Donald J. Trump… We need to find someone who can actually unify the Republican Party. I have offered plenty of things. Let some other folks start offering… I am willing to have conversations with the Republican conference to come up with a consensus speaker. It doesn’t have to be a member of the Freedom Caucus. It doesn’t even have to be a solid conservative.”
“More than half the Freedom Caucus supports McCarthy,” Hannity responded, referring to the “America First” caucus. “You’re proving that 20 people don’t want Kevin McCarthy at this time. You don’t even have a name.”
The discussion grew even more heated from there.
“I’m frustrated by you not answering a direct question,” Hannity said, raising his voice. “If by Friday you and your group of 20 don’t have a name with 30 votes, is it time for you to withdraw? And if not, why do you support a double standard?”
“I will not withdraw,” Boebert answered bluntly. “Our asks were not petty.”
Boebert and her colleagues were asking McCarthy for procedural changes. They want a new rule enabling any one representative to start a floor vote over vacating the speakership.
In the 2010s, the House required five representatives to start such a vote. Conservative congressmen used this rule to threaten former House Speaker John Boehner into early retirement, and outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scrapped the rule a few years later.
“You and others fought hard for a motion to vacate, with only five Republicans able to trigger that motion. Kevin McCarthy didn’t want to give it to you, but he did give it to you in the end. To me, that’s kind of an insurance policy,” Hannity said. “He has 203. Your side has 20. Why is time for him to withdraw and not you, when he has so many more votes?”
“But he didn’t, all the way,” Boebert said, referring to the motion to vacate. “With five members, not one member. He’s following Nancy Pelosi.”
“If you only have 30, to be clear, you will not withdraw. But you’re telling Kevin McCarthy and the 203 people that support him to withdraw because they don’t have 218. That’s what you’re saying.”
“30 is going to be a beautiful number to reach,” Boebert said. “I believe that history will show that I’m on the right side of this, Sean.”
Boebert concluded shortly afterward.
“I’m not going to support Kevin McCarthy, Sean,” Boebert said. “I love President Trump. You’re not going to pit him against me. You’re not going to pit him against me… Kevin does not have the votes for speaker. We need to find a consensus candidate.”
Sean Hannity and Lauren Boebert spar over the vote for House speaker pic.twitter.com/ROg0nFqeSH
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 5, 2023
Hannity and Boebert exposed a divide in the race for House speaker. Plus, Hannity has found himself at odds with his anti-McCarthy colleagues, like Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.
One conservative tweeted, “Sean Hannity owes Congresswoman Lauren Boebert an apology.”
Another Twitter user accused Boebert of acting as a chaos agent. “Boebert is a grandstander. She will turn out to be a RINO. She can’t even articulate her point on the Hannity show,” the user said.
The Horn editorial team