Right-wing media celebrate Kevin McCarthy’s concessions to become House speaker
Following last week’s conflict, the right has come together to support a “Speaker in name only”
Right-wing media have been quick to celebrate Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) ascent to the top job in the House of Representatives last week, which required Republican House leadership to make key concessions to far-right holdouts in exchange for their votes.
Last week’s big intramural Republican political fight, in which McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House only after a marathon week of voting, seemed to briefly reveal a conflict in the right-wing media ecosystem. Fox News largely became the voice of a Republican establishment, attacking the anti-McCarthy faction and in turn facing attacks from its own far-right competition. But in the wake of McCarthy’s victory, right-wing media are largely speaking with one voice again — and now praise the pressure campaign against McCarthy on his way to victory.
As McCarthy’s deal for the speakership came together on Friday, commentators across the right-wing media spectrum celebrated the holdouts for having successfully forced him into reshaping the proposed House rules in order to empower the far right. For conservatives on each side, regardless of whether they supported McCarthy all along or opposed him at any point, this really is the best of both worlds: McCarthy became speaker with the support of the Republican establishment, but the House agenda has been set to go firmly in an extremist direction.
The quick coalescence of right-wing personalities around McCarthy's speakership demonstrates once again the symbiotic relationships within the right-wing echo chamber, and how the Republican Party continues to take cues and marching orders from extremists in their midst.
- Fox host Jeanine Pirro said she “kind of did a turnaround myself” on the holdouts and their policy priorities, adding, “These are important things, and they held out and leadership had no choice but to work with them — and I think Congress is going to be better off in the long run.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/6/23]
- Fox News anchor Bret Baier pontificated: “It's a tough thing, but one thing is that once you get through it, you wonder whether the House will be better for it.” Fox anchor Shannon Bream replied, “Yeah, and that’s been the argument for Republicans as all of this sausage-making was playing out publicly: that this is the way that everybody gets a seat at the table, that we have the voices included across the spectrum of our caucus, and this is going to make governing better once we get through this.” [Fox News, Special Report, 1/6/23]
- Fox News host Sean Hannity told his live studio audience to give a round of applause to guest Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who had been one of the House GOP holdouts: “I want the entire country to know that you played a pivotal role in bringing all sides together to make this possible. Maybe it happens tonight, maybe the latest on Monday, but you played a very big role in all of that and I think he deserves a big hand.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/6/23]
- Fox contributor and former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Hannity that he believes the new House GOP is “going to be a very militant, very aggressive House Republican Party.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/6/23]
- Fox prime-time host Laura Ingraham observed, “These 19 or 20 holdouts actually did seem to get some pretty important concessions in the end.” Republican lawyer Harmeet Dhillon replied by applauding the challenge to leadership: “This is how our process is supposed to work.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/6/23]
- Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk told Ingraham that “you've got to give credit to these holdouts for negotiating for a better conservative Congress,” adding, “This is on pace to be the most conservative Congress in my lifetime. These holdouts, I think, are patriots for what they've done, and now it’s time to take a victory so the moderates don’t strike back with a deal with Democrats that could obliterate this entire deal.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/6/23]
The Charlie Kirk Show
- Charlie Kirk commented on the news that McCarthy would likely be the next speaker by praising the strategy of the holdouts, “I know that angers a lot of you but that has been the strategy of these holdouts. Some of them are never-Kevins, some of them are, ‘Hey, we want concessions to try to make this the most conservative Congress.’” [Salem Radio Network, The Charlie Kirk Show, 1/6/23]
- Kirk vocally supported making concessions to the GOP holdouts in order to make a more right-wing Congress: “I support concessions to make the most conservative Congress in American history. That's what I support. I don't support a person, I don't support an individual. I, instead, support Rules Committee, Steering Committee. I support staying out of primaries. I support floor votes. I support Jim Jordan as the head of Judiciary. That I support.” [Salem Radio Network, The Charlie Kirk Show, 1/5/23]
- During an appearance on Kirk’s program, right-wing podcast host Liz Wheeler praised the “rebels” for ensuring “that McCarthy is going to be as conservative of a leader as he possibly can,” adding, “That's a good thing.” [Salem Radio Network, The Charlie Kirk Show, 1/6/23]
Steve Bannon’s War Room
- Center for Renewing America President Russ Vought praised the rumored concessions, saying, “We are on the precipice of a win-win situation.” “It would not be possible if the only-Kevins got their way,” he added. “We are on the precipice of decentralized power.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/6/23]
- Former Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) predicted the concessions are “going to put the new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, in a straightjacket where he actually has to abide by the rules of the party and of the people.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing radio host Erick Erickson: “This is the best deal they're going to get. It has substantive safeguards for the right and will shake up the legislative process for budgeting for the first time in decades. As much as I'd love to toss McCarthy, this deal is more important, and it is worth preserving.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Donald Trump Jr.: “Proud of my conservative friends in the house who just won the best deal the right has ever gotten from Republican Leadership. We need to put petty personal disputes aside & do what's best for the movement. This is a transformational deal that will change Congress for the better!” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing author George Papadopoulos: “Six patriots, on behalf of 75 million Americans, are forcing the GOP to FINALLY represent the will of the people!” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Fox News host Mark Levin: “Chip Roy's efforts the last 36-48 hours deserve great credit, as he swung into action to bridge some of the issues. He did not use this occasion to fundraise, to even scores, etc., etc. He was among the 20 who acted purely out of principle.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing activist Mike Davis: “Kevin McCarthy has given away his shirt, pants, socks, and underwear. He has gutted the Speaker's powers. All to become Speaker. Even if he can twist enough arms, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. Lauren Boebert will have Kevin McCarthy's balls in her purse for the next 2 years.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing strategist Alex Bruesewitz: “My friends @realannapaulina, @DrPaulGosar, @ByronDonalds, and @RepScottPerry wouldn’t have flipped their votes to McCarthy if they felt like they didn’t ‘win.’ I know that they have negotiated great things for MAGA! They most certainly are NOT ‘sellouts.’ They are patriots.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Bruesewitz: “I’ve talked with many of the holdouts who have flipped to McCarthy, they have worked hard for MAGA. My friends who have flipped aren’t ‘sellouts,’ & those who are still holding out aren’t ‘enemies.’ When all said & done, conservatives will have more power than ever before!” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Charlie Kirk listed the names of former holdouts who’d switched their support to McCarthy, following his capitulation: “These congressmen and women are close to delivering the most conservative congress in history. Thats a big deal!” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing radio host Dana Loesch: “I'd say the Speaker decision is pretty much resolved at this point. If @chiproytx was convinced -- and he's one who has negotiated in good faith and has been incredibly transparent -- that seems like a good measure of confidence.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Conservative author and anti-Muslim bigot Brigitte Gabriel: “In reality, Kevin McCarthy will end up becoming Speaker in name only. Rep Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and several other Freedom Caucus members will be the ones running the House of Representatives.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing podcaster and former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis: “Bottom line: With this rules package, the 20 have achieved an historic accountability oversight and check on leadership and the Speaker’s power. I would consider this a TOTAL WIN for Gaetz & Co, the MAGA movement, and therefore America. Declare victory and let’s get to work!” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Conservative commentator David Brody responded to Ellis’ tweet: “I agree with the brilliant @JennaEllisEsq on this below.👇👇 The House Resistance Freedom Fighters won because accountability to the people won. And if ‘Neutered Kevin’ reneges, he’s gone.” [Twitter, 1/6/23]
- Right-wing pundit Mike Crispi: “Pro-McCarthy crowd last week: “we must support him blindly, he’s the only guy!” Pro-McCarthy crowd now: “he has such a bold agenda!” (Referencing all the concessions he made to the holdouts) What would you be touting as his plan if the 20 laid down initially like you wanted?” [Twitter, 1/8/23]