With it becoming increasingly likely that Kevin McCarthy will finally become Speaker of the House after a four-day stalemate, several CNN hosts on Friday afternoon appeared horrified at the notion that his election could take place on the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection.
After two votes on Friday afternoon saw McCarthy flip 14 former hardliners that had opposed his speakership, many expect the GOP leader will finally cross the necessary threshold when the House reconvenes later in the evening. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the far-right ringleader of the “Never Kevin” faction who vowed McCarthy would never be elected speaker, even conceded that it would probably happen.
Discussing the possible concessions and perks that McCarthy had to promise the fringes of his party to gain their votes, CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted that there’s a desire by the House Freedom Caucus for a “Church-style committee” that would investigate the FBI and Justice Department.
“The big fear among establishment Republicans is that this is not going to be the Church Committee,” he declared. “This is going to be an effort by individuals, who have defied congressional subpoenas during the Jan. 6 investigation, to actually obstruct justice from the—you know, with a gavel in their hands—from a committee. I mean, there are real fears here.”
CNN reporter Jamie Gangel noted that one of the Republicans who recently jumped off the “Never Kevin” wagon was Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), whose phone was seized by the FBI as part of the Jan. 6 investigation. She also pointed out that a number of House Republicans, including McCarthy himself, defied subpoenas from the committee investigating the attacks.
Moments later, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash juxtaposed the somber remembrance of the deadly Capitol riots with the probable ascension of McCarthy as speaker.
“I also think it bears repeating today is Jan. 6 and we watched earlier the president have that ceremony where he gave honors to people who defended democracy and maybe by the end of the day on Jan. 6, Kevin McCarthy will be speaker,” she stated.
“But it was two years ago that some of these holdouts helped stage a coup, a violent coup, that almost took down this country,” Bash added.
“If he becomes speaker on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection,” CNN anchor Kasie Hunt remarked. “I don’t think we should let that go.”
CNN host John King, meanwhile, added a finishing touch to the panel’s realization that a congressman who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election could be crowned speaker on the anniversary of the insurrection.
“Coming back late at night to finish their business two years later,” King exclaimed.
Throughout the chaotic speaker fight this week in the House, CNN—which is making a concerted effort to appear more “centrist”—has been a welcome landing zone for dozens of Republican lawmakers who would normally shun the channel. At the same time, at least one GOP congressman used his on-air appearance to belittle anchor Erin Burnett while referring to the channel as the “Clinton News Network.”