Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) desperate bid to become speaker of the House remains stalled against opposition from what some on One America News Network call “true conservative Congress members” standing athwart “the court jester conservative for the kingdom of liberalism.”
While OAN’s “news” side has aired some reports that are sympathetic to McCarthy, more OAN figures appear to be reveling in McCarthy’s humiliation as he endures the first speaker vote since 1923 that has required multiple ballots, repeatedly trying to win the title although he reportedly remains short of the necessary votes, even with multiple major concessions to his opponents.
OAN’s opposition to a Speaker McCarthy comes as little surprise.
The recent rise in OAN’s hostility to McCarthy has roots in the GOP’s underwhelming midterm performance. On November 14, Real America host Dan Ball discussed the House Freedom Caucus’ plans to derail McCarthy’s bid for speaker -- “as I think they should,” Ball said. In Focus host Addison Smith also endorsed Rep. Andy Biggs’ (R-AZ) protest run for speaker, which OAN had also promoted on its news side. Biggs’ candidacy ultimately helped spoil McCarthy’s first ballot.
On January 3, Smith began In Focus by hailing the “patriots” in Congress who “understand that Kevin McCarthy is a China-owned CCP RINO who spent his whole career being the court jester conservative for the kingdom of liberalism, doing their bidding for them.”
“He's an enemy of Trump,” Smith declared. “He’s an enemy of America First. He’s an enemy of conservatism. He is the embodiment of what we mean when we say the establishment, the swamp.” After criticizing McCarthy for blaming Trump for January 6 and for his reported plan to convince Trump to resign, Smith plainly stated that “this man absolutely cannot be trusted as speaker of the House.”
Smith’s guest, Noel Fritsch of the National File, called McCarthy “a bully” and said he was threatening committee assignments, “just like Nancy Pelosi did.” “It’s a mess,” Fritsch said of the voting process. “The conference, it needs leadership sorely. Obviously Kevin’s not leading the conference. It’s time for new leadership to step into the void.”
On Real America, Ball indicated that he just wanted “our party [to] unite behind one person that will get the damn job done,” but “if that means we have to wait a few more days” for “a better-suited speaker that will be more in line with America First and the MAGA movement, I’m all for it. We’ve just got to get our act together.”
After McCarthy lost three more votes for speaker on January 4, Smith was even less conciliatory, taking a five-minute monologue to lay out a broad, far-right case against McCarthy, including his support for Ukraine and his suggestion that Twitter “censor members of his own caucus.”
“He’s in bed with Big Tech, and China, and the globalists, and the deep state, and the Big Tech lobbies, all of them. He is the swamp. He’s the biggest alligator in the swamp right now,” Smith said. “He’s a lying, cheating, good-for-nothing D.C. parasite, leeching off of globalist elites for money and influence.”
“Here’s our chance to actually start” draining the swamp, Smith pleaded, “by not electing McCarthy the speaker of the House, and we can’t even take the first step.” Pounding his fist for emphasis, Smith said, “step one, to purge the RINOs.”
Opposition to McCarthy, however, is not absolute on OAN -- the “news” side ran an interview with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who called for unity and condemned the House Republicans blocking McCarthy’s speakership for trying to “beat somebody with nobody.” Ball also hosted GOP strategist Alex Bruesewitz, who indicated his support for McCarthy after claiming the California Republican told him that he would “take on the January 6 commission members, he will look into what actually happened on January 6,” likely referencing at least one of the many right-wing conspiracy theories about the insurrection.
Amid the speakership chaos, OAN’s Pearson Sharp has also explored an unconventional candidate for the office. “Who would Republicans follow? Well there's another name we should consider for speaker of the House,” Sharp proposed. “A name that would unite the people and put America first, no matter what. That name, of course, is Donald Trump.”
“That's right,” Sharp excitedly said. Although Trump is running for president in 2024, that “doesn’t stop him from being speaker of the House in the meantime, where he could finally put the Republican Party back on track.” Trump could even “launch some investigations of his own,” Sharp said, to put “Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the communist traitors in Washington” in prison “for the rest of their lives.”