PBS Pits Rep. McCarthy vs. ‘Hard-Line Right Wingers…Trump Is These People’s Demigod’

News & Politics

On the Tuesday edition of Amanpour & Co on PBS, host Christiane Amanpour interviewed former moderate Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who served three terms in office representing a Texas district but didn’t seek reelection in 2020.

Amanpour led off with the fight for Speaker of the House and with unsympathetic labeling of the “hard-line” opponents of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

At this moment, majority leader Kevin McCarthy does not yet have the votes to secure the Speaker’s gavel. A small contingent of hard-line right-wingers are standing in his way, but they are enough to endanger his election given his party’s razor-thin majority….

(The House later adjourned Tuesday night after failing to elect a speaker after three rounds of voting.)

Amanpour invited Hurd to comment, and the former Republican turned fiercely against what he called “right-wing” bomb throwers, with no pushback from Amanpour, only eager agreement.

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After introducing her guest as the author of the new book American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done, she asked (as the first round of the vote for Speaker was underway) “….do you think Kevin McCarthy will make it?

Hurd voiced his doubts (“I think the math is very hard for Kevin McCarthy”) and then proceeded to lambaste conservative Republican holdouts as “a handful of individuals that are not interested in governing.”

When Amanpour asked for details, Hurd dismissed them as “Five folks, these are members of what’s called the Freedom Caucus. These are some right-wing folks that are a subsect of the Republican Party.”

After airing a clip from Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, one of McCarthy’s naysayers, who Amanpour didn’t even dignify with a name (Good accused McCarthy of being “part of the swamp cartel”), Amanpour offered zero journalistic challenge to Hurd’s hostile characterization. Instead she chimed in, in total agreement, about the unprincipled motivations of the holdouts.

AMANPOUR: Congressman, as you’ve explained, this is a lot of blah, blah, these are people who have no interest in governing or on issues. They’re just grandstanding for themselves, and I’ve heard that from other Republican strategists. But here’s what I don’t understand: If Donald Trump is these people’s demigod, and Donald Tra-Trump has endorsed McCarthy, what on Earth are they doing?

HURD: Well, it shows that Donald Trump, nobody cares what he thinks anymore, and that his power is swaying….

A partial transcript follows (click “Expand”)

PBS’s Amanpour & Co 
January 3, 2023
11:02:20 p.m. Eastern

AMANPOUR: Back live after what we hope were happy holidays for everyone. In Washington today marks a new year, a new Congress and a new balance of power but right off the bat, the new Republican House majority is stumbling amid a leadership contest that could at best be long drawn out and at worst, cause congressional chaos.

At this moment, majority leader Kevin McCarthy does not yet have the votes to secure the Speaker’s gavel. A small contingent of hard-line right-wingers are standing in his way, but they are enough to endanger his election given his party’s razor-thin majority. McCarthy has already given in to demands from these holdouts, including a rule to make it easier to boot him out of office.

….

AMANPOUR: ….ever since Donald Trump was elected president, the Republicans have suffered failures in every electoral cycle, whether it was in 2018 midterms, 2020 presidential and now not having that big red wave that was predicted. Apparently, that’s history defying failure right there. But here’s the thing. McCarthy says that he’s earned it and by the facts he has, right? He led the party to at least a slim victory. These guys say he’s part of the swamp. I’m going to — these holdouts, I’m going to play a soundbite of one of them and then I want to ask you to react.

REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): He’s part of the problem, he’s not part of the solution. I’ll be following the will of my constituents, the voters of Virginia’s fifth district, who hundreds of which have told me over the past couple years not to support Kevin McCarthy. And there is nothing he’s done to earn my vote. There is nothing that indicates to me that he’s going to change his pattern since he’s been in leadership where he’s part of the swamp cartel.

AMANPOUR: Congressman, as you’ve explained, this is a lot of blah, blah, these are people who have no interest in governing or on issues. They’re just grandstanding for themselves, and I’ve heard that from other Republican strategists. But here’s what I don’t understand: If Donald Trump is these people’s demigod, and Donald Trump has endorsed McCarthy, what on Earth are they doing?

HURD: Well, it shows that Donald Trump nobody cares what he thinks anymore and that his power is swaying….

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