In the wake of removing George Santos from the House of Representatives last week, Congressman Eric Swalwell believes he knows who the next Republican to be booted from Congress will be. Taking to Twitter, the California Democrat said that he believes Republicans will soon push former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
With Santos gone, you’re hearing it here first: the next GOP member to leave Congress will be @SpeakerMcCarthy. No way he stays. A guy who kidney punches his colleagues from behind is too afraid to serve out a full term with them. I bet he’s gone by end of year. What say you?
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 2, 2023
The Washington Examiner noted, “On Friday, the House voted 311-114 to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) weeks after a report from the House Committee on Ethics said he committed “fraud” and other misconduct. The rare move has not been enacted in over two decades, making Santos the sixth lawmaker ever kicked out of Congress, and he was immediately stripped of his House position. In a similar historic fashion, McCarthy was ousted as speaker by his fellow Republicans earlier this fall, marking the first time in history that the House removed its leader.
“A guy who kidney punches his colleagues from behind is too afraid to serve out a full term with them. I bet he’s gone by end of year. What say you?” Swalwell added.
McCarthy most recently said he has not decided on a reelection bid in 2024.
“I got the holidays. I’ll talk to my family,” McCarthy said in an interview with CNN’s Manu Raju in November. “And then I’ll make a decision.”
It’s not surprising the Swalwell would be rooting for McCarthy to go. The two have long clashed and one of McCarthy’s first moves as Speaker of the House was to strip Swalwell from his role on the House Intelligence Committee.
In 2020, Swalwell was accused of having a sexual relationship with a Chinese spy. Axios wrote, “A suspected Chinese intelligence operative developed extensive ties with local and national politicians, including a U.S. congressman, in what U.S. officials believe was a political intelligence operation run by China’s main civilian spy agency between 2011 and 2015, Axios found in a yearlong investigation.
The woman at the center of the operation, a Chinese national named Fang Fang or Christine Fang, targeted up-and-coming local politicians in the Bay Area and across the country who had the potential to make it big on the national stage.
Fang took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to a Bay Area political operative and a current U.S. intelligence official. Swalwell’s office was directly aware of these activities on its behalf, the political operative said. That same political operative, who witnessed Fang fundraising on Swalwell’s behalf, found no evidence of illegal contributions.”
Following his defeat to continue on as Speaker of the House, many expected McCarthy to “retire,” but the California congressman remained defiant. Since then, however, life as a regular member of the House has reportedly been a struggle for someone who had previously been third in line for the presidency. The New York Times recently claimed that McCarthy has not enjoyed being out of the limelight.
Over the past two months, Mr. McCarthy has given the life of a rank-and-file member a hard look and discovered it to be a painful existence after having been at the pinnacle of his party in the House for more than a decade.
These days, Mr. McCarthy, famous for his preternaturally sunny California disposition, has been hard to cheer up. He no longer attends the conference meetings he used to preside over, and at times has struggled to contain his anger at the Republicans who deposed him. (He denied the accusation from one of them, Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee, that he elbowed him in the kidney in a basement hallway of the Capitol.)
House Republicans are beginning to move past Mr. McCarthy’s removal as they navigate business with Mr. Johnson at the helm. But Mr. McCarthy has not finished processing his defenestration. He is someone who has never enjoyed being alone, and an emptier schedule leaves more time to spend in one’s own head.
‘When you spend two decades building something, it’s difficult to end that chapter,’ said Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, one of Mr. McCarthy’s closest friends in Congress. ‘His life has been building the Republican majority and attaining the third-highest office in the land. It is difficult for any mortal to deal with an abrupt end and determine his next chapter.’”
In November, McCarthy Politico reported that he was considering not running for reelection in 2024.
“I got the holidays. I will talk to my family about the ideas of what is going forward, and then I will make a decision.” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju in an interview that aired Sunday.
The outlet continued: “When pressed about whether or not he was leaning toward running for reelection or leaving the House, McCarthy told Raju: ‘I don’t know.’
If he were to decide to end his career in Congress, McCarthy’s departure would open up the race for his seat in California’s 20th District, and would make him the latest in a line of members who are opting out of reelection bids in 2024. The district is a rarity in California: A safe Republican one.”
McCarthy’s decision will have to be made soon. The filing deadline to run for Congress in California is December 8.