GOP pundits split on impact of House speaker battle

Politics

(NewsNation) — For only the second time since the American Civil War, the election for Speaker of the House is requiring multiple ballots and just like the Republican congressional majority, conservative commentators are split on the political implications of the infighting.

By the end of Wednesday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy has failed to secure the 218 votes needed to become House speaker after six rounds of voting. The House again adjourned and will return at noon ET Thursday.

Many conservatives have criticized the 20 or so holdouts, the majority of whom are part of the House Freedom Caucus to McCarthy’s right.

“They make us look like fools to be honest with you and I think that does weaken the GOP,” John Feehery, a GOP strategist, said on “NewsNation Live” Wednesday.

Feehery said House Republicans need to be realistic about what they can achieve in a divided government and unite in order to effectively oversee the Biden administration.

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro also questioned the broader strategy of the dissenters.

“What is the actual policy advanced by stalling (McCarthy) here, other than to hand Dems a PR win by depicting the House GOP as a clown show?” Shapiro tweeted Tuesday.

But others on the political right see some positives in the showdown.

Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told NewsNation’s Leland Vittert the intraparty disagreement signifies a “healthier situation” where party members are allowed to clash.

“Republicans have people who disagree in the party, they’re not lockstep afraid of what might happen to them if they go against the orthodoxy,” O’Reilly said.

If he had a vote, O’Reilly said he would “probably give McCarthy a chance.”

Buck Sexton, a conservative talk show host, tweeted Tuesday that some friction at this stage “might be a good thing” as it will “keep the careerists on their toes a little.”

Others are more openly opposed to a McCarthy Speakership.

Numerous Trump-aligned Republicans online are celebrating McCarthy’s failed attempts to become House Speaker despite the fact the former president has called for the party to rally around the recent minority leader.

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