Watch CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju’s interview with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy this Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted in unprecedented fashion more than a month ago, railed on the Republicans who voted for his removal — and bluntly predicted that one of his detractors would lose reelection next year.
In an exclusive interview with CNN in his new office on Thursday, McCarthy said that GOP Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina didn’t deserve to be reelected in her competitive district next year — and he questioned the wisdom of his GOP critics for following the lead of Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, whom he accused of leading the charge out of retaliation for an ethics complaint he is facing.
McCarthy, who has kept his powder mostly dry since Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana won the speakership after a chaotic 22-day episode following his ouster, made clear Thursday that he hasn’t forgotten about the eight Republicans who voted to make him the first speaker in history to lose his job by a vote on the floor.
McCarthy referred to six of his GOP detractors as “disruptors,” and said he was particularly surprised that Mace and Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett joined Gaetz in the effort to oust him. And McCarthy said the Republican Party would benefit “tremendously” if Gaetz was no longer a member of the House, saying there should be “consequences” for his action.
“People have to earn the right to be here. And I just think from – I mean he’ll admit to you personally. He doesn’t have a conservative bent in his philosophy. And just the nature of what he focuses on,” McCarthy said.
He said that it’s up to the conference if the House GOP should consider expelling Gaetz and added he doesn’t “believe the conference will ever heal if there’s no consequences for the action.”
In response, Gaetz shot back.
“Thoughts and prayers to the former speaker as he works through his grief,” Gaetz told CNN.