McCarthy denies that he's discussed plan to force out Ryan

McCarthy denies that he's discussed plan to force out Ryan
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief A trillion stimulus, but Kevin McCarthy for renewable energy — leading businesses want to change that When will telling the truth in politics matter again? MORE (R-Calif.) is denying that he has had conversations about trying to force out Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey Democratic super PAC quotes Reagan in anti-Trump ad set to air on Fox News: 'Are you better off?' MORE (R-Wis.) with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE's budget director, Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds MORE.

The Weekly Standard on Monday quoted Mulvaney as saying he had talked with McCarthy about the possibility of holding a Speaker's vote before the midterm elections.

"I've talked with Kevin about this privately but not as much publicly,” Mulvaney said. “Wouldn't it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Schumer slam Trump executive orders, call for GOP to come back to negotiating table Trump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE eight weeks before an election? That's a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it."

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McCarthy, now Ryan's deputy, said he talks to Mulvaney frequently but pushed back on the remark.

"Mulvaney and I are longtime friends. We go to dinner when we're back here on the early nights," he said.

"The only thing Mulvaney has ever talked about was, 'Are you going to run for Speaker if we keep the majority?' Nothing different than that whatsoever. ... I don't understand The Weekly Standard, I thought I was very clear on that — that is not true. I don't know what somebody is trying to create here, but not true," McCarthy said.

The California Republican added he's never discussed any sort of plan to oust Ryan with any other White House official.

"No way did we ever have any conversation about Paul leaving," he said, adding he still thinks Ryan is a viable Speaker through the end of his term.

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Rumors of a push for Ryan to step down have intensified following the failure of the farm bill Friday — a top priority for the Wisconsin Republican due to its language on welfare reform — and the growing push from moderates to force floor votes on immigration. Some question whether Ryan, as a lame-duck Speaker, is losing control of the conference.

But McCarthy said his conversations with Mulvaney — a former member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — have often centered on divisions in the Democratic Party.

"The only thing we talk about — not about a Speaker race, we talk about how divided the Democrats are. People don't realize, you know, we were laughing one day, saying we're divided, here we are passing all those big pieces of legislation," he continued. "If you sit with Democrats, they're totally divided."