Gingrich: 'McCarthy will be the next Speaker'
© Greg Nash

Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE is confident House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse Republicans call impeachment hearing 'boring,' dismiss Taylor testimony as hearsay The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine House Republicans prepare for public impeachment proceedings with mock hearing MORE (R-Calif.) will succeed Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE (R-Ohio) who is he retiring in October.

Gingrich, who served as Speaker from 1995 to 1999, said McCarthy has broad appeal among Republicans in the lower chamber.

“I think it’s very hard to replace him at this point,” Gingrich told host John Catsimatidis on "The Cats Roundtable" on AM 970 in New York on Sunday.

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“He’s a very bright, capable guy. He was the leader in the California assembly for the Republicans, he has been rising steadily, and he’s very widely liked and very widely accepted."

McCarthy has not announced his intention to run for the Speakership, but the GOP leader is widely considered the favorite to succeed Boehner.

Some members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of 40 to 50 hardline conservatives, have raised questions about McCarthy’s conservative bona fides.

Gingrich said he does not think the group will be able to prevent McCarthy from becoming speaker.

"I think what they’re going to discover is that they have enough votes to be very noisy, but they don’t have enough votes to win," he said.

Gingrich also talked about his impression of Boehner after the pope’s address to Congress on Thursday, saying he did not see his sudden retirement coming.

“We went by Boehner’s office afterwards, and I have to say I didn’t see it coming on,” he said. “I knew he was very tired and [Boehner’s wife] Debbie was very tired, and they were really sort of fed up with the constant attacks, but it had been such a great day for him, and he was so emotionally affected by the pope’s visit, which you could see on television, that I really didn’t pick it up.”

The 2012 Republican presidential candidate said the pope’s visit was the crowning achievement of Boehner’s tenure as Speaker.
“For Boehner, I think, he realized it would never get better than this,” Gingrich said. “And I think that’s part of why – he had been exhausted, he had been fighting a long battle with critics on the right, and I think he just decided, you know, enough’s enough.”

Boehner was widely criticized by conservatives during his tenure as Speaker.