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Will the impostor save Kevin McCarthy?

(New York) Even before being sworn in on Tuesday, elected members of the House of Representatives will begin the first working session of 118e Congress by electing a president (Loudspeaker in English). The latter will then become the third person in the US state after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

From the outset, at least two candidates will run, one for each party represented in the House: California Republican Kevin McCarthy and New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries.

In normal times, Rep. McCarthy’s election should not be in doubt: Thanks to the results of the midterm elections, Republicans have a four-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

But times are not normal, and electing Nancy Pelosi’s successor may require more than one vote, something not seen since January 3, 1923, exactly 100 years ago.

And if, after one or more ballots, Kevin McCarthy ends up winning, he may owe it to a fraud, in this case New York State Representative-elect George Santos, who is already under two investigations for the multiple lies he told about nearly every aspect of his life during his campaign.

He will start his term well.

But before getting there, Kevin McCarthy will first have to quell the rebellion simmering within his group.

In recent weeks, at least five Republican representatives have announced that they will not vote for him, potentially depriving him of the simple majority he needs to achieve his life’s dream.

One rebel, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, predicted in a Dec. 21 op-ed on the conservative news site The Daily Caller: “The election [du président de la Chambre] It will require several polls and possibly several days. After an internal debate, the Republicans will meet and choose the appropriate leader for this role, and it should not be Kevin McCarthy. »

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On the same forum, the Florida representative wrote that Kevin McCarthy was “the pocket dog of interest groups,” including those who wanted to enforce the vaccination obligation to fight COVID-19.

Every Republican in Congress knows that Kevin doesn’t believe in anything. “She has no ideology,” he added.

extremist faction

Like Matt Gaetz, the four other Representatives who promised not to vote for Kevin McCarthy belong to the Freedom Caucus, which includes the most conservative or radical elected officials in the House. They are Andy Biggs (Arizona), Bob Goode (Virginia), Ralph Norman (South Carolina) and Matt Rosendell (Montana).

Several Republican lawmakers declined to disclose how they voted.

Kevin McCarthy has a number of assets in his game, notably enjoying the support of Donald Trump and two influential actors from among the most conservative Republican groups, Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia). These two people are expected to hold important positions on the committees that will investigate the Biden administration and launch possible impeachment proceedings against the president or members of his cabinet.

But Kevin McCarthy is also at the mercy of his colleagues who want to take advantage of his weakness to extract concessions from him or even to weaken him further. Among that group is Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert. In return for her support, she specifically demanded that a California representative authorize the use of an old rule allowing any representative to force a vote to remove the speaker from office.

This public controversy between Lorraine Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene followed this statement, which reflects divisions even within the ultra-conservative fringe of the Republican group.

Divisions may cause a major headache for the next Speaker of Parliament, whoever he is.

George Santos thorn profile

Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy’s room to move is minimal. Hence his deafening silence on the inconsequential controversies surrounding Jorge Santos. An openly gay candidate, the son of Brazilian immigrants born in the borough of Queens, this 34-year-old New Yorker was elected after lying about his academic background, career, real estate assets, philanthropic activities, and confession. Religious, among others (he said he was Jewish through his maternal grandparents, whom he falsely presented as Holocaust survivors who had taken refuge in Brazil).

PHOTO WADE VANDERVORT, Agence France-Presse Archives

Republican Representative-elect George Santos, who admitted to lying about his education and work experience.

The Nassau District Attorney on Long Island last week announced an investigation into George Santos’ “inventions and inconsistencies that are nothing short of astonishing.” The Brooklyn federal district attorney’s office has launched a partial investigation into the financials of the appointed actor, whose income could have risen from $55,000 to at least $3.5 million from 2021 to 2022.

Democrats have claimed that George Santos is unfit to sit in the House of Representatives. The Republican majority could come to that conclusion in time. But first, the scammer will have a say in the election of the next “speaker”.

And his vote could make the difference and allow Kevin McCarthy to finally get the speaker’s sledgehammer.

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