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Mick Mulvaney on Kevin McCarthy and Candidates for House Speaker and Majority Leader

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Mick Mulvaney talks with Hugh about Kevin McCarthy’s recent remark about the Benghazi investigation, his nomination for Speaker of the House, and the candidacy for the next majority leader.

The audio: 10-1hhs-mulvaney

The transcript:

HH: Welcome back, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. Joined now by South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney proudly representing the fifth district of South Carolina. Congressman, welcome back tot the Hugh Hewitt Show. Great to have you on.

MM: Hugh, thanks for having me back.

HH: You got to remind me, what’s in the fifth district? They get the fourth and the fifth district confused.

MM: Yeah, the fourth is Trey’s district – that’s Greensville and Spartanburg. I got Rock Hills, my biggest city is sort of north central. Everything south is Charlotte, North Carolina.

HH: Okay, well I think I cover your district on 99.5, so glad to have you back. Let me begin by saying I’m sorry you couldn’t persuade colleague to run for majority leader. We’ve given up the fight there?

MM: Well on that particular fight, yeah. We haven’t given up the fight generally, but Trey, his heart just wasn’t in it. He really, really wants to finish Benghazi and feels that’s sort of his calling and I can’t argue with him. He’s doing a great job at it. And it’s he was born to do. He’s the right man at the right place and the right times, so hard to fault him for that.

HH: How about yourself? Why don’t you put your hat in the ring? The Freedom Caucus would rally to Mick Mulvaney.

MM: There would be. There’s a really, really good reason that I haven’t offered my name in the hat which is that I would lose really badly.

HH: (laughs) I am not sure about that.

MM: Any of our members would probably get forty to fifty votes at most. Our best hope from this is always in the very beginning to be able to try and influence the outcome. Jim Jordan who is our chairman – the former Republican Study chairman – one of the most highly regarded conservatives in the House probably gets fifty votes. That’s just the nature of the beast. We know we are the minority within the majority. We’re trying to do the best we can with the numbers we’ve got.

HH: You mean, Jordan is from the great state of Ohio, my home state, so at least he knows something about football. Doesn’t that count for anything?

MM: I think he is a wrestler. He doesn’t look like he knows very much about football.

HH: Everybody from Ohio knows about football, Congressman Mulvaney. Let me ask you about your soon-to-be Speaker, Kevin McCarthy. I’ve been defending him today, even on a day where the big story is the horrible shooting in Oregon. The Democrats are attempting to turn Kevin McCarthy’s comments into a shutdown of Benghazi when all he was noting was the truth that Trey Gowdy and his colleagues have caused to come forward has hurt Hilary Clinton. That’s all Kevin McCarthy said. What do you make of the attack on him as the result of his comments?

MM: It’s entirely to be expected. They’ve been looking for the slightest slip for the last year to sort of pounce on the motivations for this and Kevin was late in the day and we’ve all said things that aren’t artful late in the day when we’re tired. I know he wishes he had that one back. But let’s face it, it doesn’t change the fact how Trey has run the committee. What the committee has discovered – I don’t Trey’s even mentioned Hilary Clinton at a hearing one time. So yes, it opens the door a little bit and they are going to push through it as much as they possibly can. But it does not change the merits of what is happening. Trey and I just flew home on a plane and he said “We live in a town in Washington where what people matters and we live in a country where what you do matters. And hopefully, at the end of the day, that will still win out.”

HH: I also believe that Kevin McCarthy will still be elected Speaker and that he’ll be good speaker. Do you agree with me that his election remains the overwhelming likely result of whenever the leadership is held?

MM: Yes, I think I handicapped him at eight or nine chances in ten yesterday. So nothing’s over until it’s over. We’re meeting the Freedom House Caucus, we’re meeting with Kevin and with other declared candidate Daniel Webster next Tuesday. We have some things that we would like to see improved in the way the House has run. We always thought the conservatives were underrepresented, for example, on committees. We’ve been retaliated against sitting members [who] have raised money in primaries against conservatives. That kind of stuff has got to change. That was part of that poisonous atmosphere that Boehner allowed to sort of fester in the party and we want to know, if it’s going to be Kevin, is he going to fix it, if it’s not, who’s it going to be? So I don’t think it’s a done deal yet.

HH: Now Kevin McCarthy, when he was the minority leader in the House in California, made it a practice of bringing everyone along, both the most conservative member of the caucus and the least conservative member of the caucus and there was some in California that were pretty “light-red” if you know what I mean. They were not really Republicans. Do you see that same skill set?

MM: Listen, I’m happy you all have any Republicans in California.

HH: (Laughs)

MM: Yes, I do. In fact, I didn’t realize that’s his reputation back there. That’s certainly his reputation now. Kevin, agree with him, disagree with him, is not a top-down manager. John used to walk into a room and say, “Okay boys, here’s the deal.” And you know, Kevin walks into a room and says, “Okay boys, what do you think?” And that is a markedly different management style and I have every confidence that if he’s speaker, he’ll continue that. I think that’s healthy for the conference. One of the reasons, again, that conservatives made this push to get rid of John was that we felt very strongly that we were not being heard or represented by our leadership.

HH: Now talk to me about the majority leader position, Mick Mulvaney. Again, I’m talking with Mick Mulvaney, Congressman from South Carolina. One of the leaders of the Freedom Caucus within the House of Representatives. One of the great conservatives from South Carolina and the country. What about the majority leader’s race? Is is just Scalise and Price, both Congressman, both friends of this show, but is it only those two?

MM: Yeah, right now it’s just those two. There’s some discord over when we’re supposed to have the election. We think the election was noticed for next Thursday which makes very little sense since there won’t be a vacancy for the majority leader next Thursday. Kevin won’t be elected to the Speakership until early November if it happens to Kevin or anybody else. If Kevin is not even elected, then there is no vacancy at majority leader, so there’s a lot of confusion I think right now as to when we’re going to have the election. That election is very close I think. I think it’s fair to say Scalise might have an advantage, but it’s far from a done-deal. I think that may be erased although there’s still a lot of undecided voters. If you like Scalise, if you Price, there’s a lot of folks – moderates and conservatives alike – think, “Eh, is there anybody else who’s going to stick their head in this race?” I tried to push Jim Jordan into considering that race after Gowdy said he wasn’t interested so Jordan declined for the same reasons we just discussed. But I think that race is still very much up in the air.

HH: Ditto, I honestly believe, Congressman Mulvaney, if one of the conservatives put their hand up, this show and every other talk show would be instrumental in rallying support and that people would have a hard time saying no on the air. Now they might lie in their ballot, but if Coach Jordan was in there or Mick Mulvaney or anyone, I actually think the lines would burn up with people demanding a hardcore conservative in one of the top jobs.

MM: Yes, but you just hit the nail on the head there in that one little brief sentence. On the secret ballot, the difference between the votes for Speaker and the votes for Majority Leaders and the votes for Speaker on the floor, you got to stand up and they call your name and say, “I’m voting for X.” The votes for majority is in secret. It’s done downstairs in the Capitol. It’s a secret ballot, and don’t think there’s not a politician or two who might come on your show and say, “I voted for so-and-so” when he or she wrote a different name on that piece of paper.

HH: Oh, I don’t doubt that, but I’m curious about what’s the harm – would Jordan do it if he thought he would win? That’s a question?

MM: It’s a really good question, and I don’t really know. The majority leader is a really thankless job. There’s a lot of travel involved. A lot of money-raising for the party. Listen, it’s not a job that obviously, a lot of people want. There’s only two people who are running for it. So I honestly don’t know the answer to your question. All I know is that there’s a general level of not great dissatisfaction but mild dissatisfaction for the candidates. And listen, it’s not that they are bad guys. Tom Price is a good conservative. Tom Price was the Budget Chair and followed up on Paul Ryan. Did a good job. Former RSC chairman. Scalise also from RSC chair. So they got some good conservative bodies fighting, but the question is, are they best we have to offer, and I don’t if that’s been answered yet.

HH: Mick Mulvaney, good to talk to you, Congressman. Check in again with us next week. Always a pleasure.

End of Transcript

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