Scalise says he has ‘very strong, open relationship’ with McCarthy

·2 min read

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Lou.) on Sunday shot down notions of any tension with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), following recent reporting of a sharp rift between the two Republican leaders.

“We have a very strong, open relationship,” Scalise said of the dynamic between himself and McCarthy on ABC’s “This Week.” “We don’t always agree on everything, but we have a very candid relationship.”

Scalise’s comments come after a New York Times article earlier this month, citing anonymous sources, including a number of unidentified House GOP lawmakers, who sounded off on the reportedly uncomfortable relationship between the two.

According to the Times, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), a Scalise ally, tried to drum up support for Scalise to become the next Speaker after McCarthy struggled to lock down the position earlier this year. Now, according to the newspaper, McCarthy has told people he can’t rely on Scalise.

But Scalise on Sunday blasted the article and its sourcing of anonymous lawmakers and others familiar with the relationship.

“I know palace intrigue sells papers,” Scalise said. “People like anonymous sources. Ultimately, I enjoy working with my colleagues.”

Even following the rocky fight over who would be the next Speaker, House Republicans have faced a number of tough negotiations within the party on high-profile legislation. The latest example was the fight over a debt limit bill that also sought to cut government spending. GOP members very publicly battled back and forth before passing the measure last week.

Scalise on ABC pointed to the debt ceiling negotiations as an example of the strength of he and McCarthy’s relationship.

“The Speaker and I talked multiple times a day in these last few days leading up to the debt ceiling vote,” Scalise said. “In fact, Kevin called me the night before the vote, at around midnight, we were still working at the Capitol, working out final details, and the Speaker called me.”

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