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CNN Live Event/Special
CNN Special Congressional Report. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired January 03, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHERYL JOHNSON, CLERK OF RECORD FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: (Inaudible). Jeffries. Chu?
JUDY CHU, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSWOMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Cicilline?
DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND CONGRESSMAN: (Inaudible) Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Cicsomani?
JUAN CISCOMANI, ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy. Clark of Massachusetts?
KATHERINE CLARK, MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Clarke of New York?
YVETTE CLARKE, NEW YORK CONGRESSWOMAN: The brilliant brother from Brooklyn. Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Cleaver?
EMANUEL CLEAVER, MISSOURI CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Cline?
BEN CLINE, VIRGINIA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Cloud?
MICHAEL CLOUD, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: Jim Jordan.
JOHNSON: Jordan. Clyburn?
JAMES CLYBURN, SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Clyde?
ANDREW CLYDE, GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: Andy Biggs.
JOHNSON: Biggs. Cohen? STEVE COHEN, TENNESSEE CONGRESSMAN: (Inaudible). I proudly cast my
vote for the next great speaker of the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Cole?
TOM COLE, OKLAHOMA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Collins?
MIKE COLLINS, GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Comer?
JAMES COMER, KENTUCKY CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Connolly?
GERALD CONNOLLY, VIRGINIA CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Correa?
J. CORREA, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Costa?
JIM COSTA, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: Gentleman from New York Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Courtney?
JOE COURTNEY, CONNECTICUT CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Craig?
ANGIE CRAIG, MINNESOTA CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Crane?
ELIJAH CRANE, ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN: Andy Biggs.
JOHNSON: Biggs. Crawford?
ERIC CRAWFORD, ARKANSAS CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Crenshaw?
DAN CRENSHAW, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Crockett?
JASMINE CROCKETT, TEXAS CONGRESSWOMAN: (Inaudible) Hakeem Jeffries. Crow?
JASON CROW, COLORADO CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Cuellar?
HENRY CUELLAR, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Curtis?
JOHN CURTIS, UTAH CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Davids of Kansas?
SHARICE DAVIDS, KANSAS CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Davidson?
WARREN DAVIDSON, OHIO CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Davis of Illinois?
DANNY DAVIS, ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Davis of North Carolina?
DONALD DAVIS, NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Dean of Pennsylvania?
MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. DeGette?
DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. De La Cruz?
MONICA DE LA CRUZ, TEXAS CONGRESSWOMAN: From the great state of Texas, Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. LeLauro?
ROSA DELAURO, CONNECTICUT CONGRESSWOMAN: (Inaudible) vote Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. DelBene?
SUZAN DELBENE, WASHINGTON CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Deluzio?
CHRISTOPHER DELUZIO, PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. DeSaulnier?
MARK DESAULNIER, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. DesJarlais?
SCOTT DESJARLAIS, TENNESSEE CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy. JOHNSON: McCarthy. Diaz-Spizito?
DIAZ-SPIZITO, NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: (Inaudible) New York, Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Diaz-Balart?
MARIO DIAZ-BALART, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Dingell?
DEBBIE DINGELL, MICHIGAN CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. (Inaudible)?
UNKNOWN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Donalds?
BYRON DONALDS, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Duarte?
JOHN DUARTE, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Duncan?
JEFF DUNCAN, SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Dunn of Florida?
NEAL DUNN, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Edwards?
CHUCK EDWARDS, NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Ellzey?
JAKE ELLZEY, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Emmer?
TOM EMMER, MINNESOTA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Escobar?
VERONICA ESCOBAR, TEXAS CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Eshoo?
ANNA ESHOO, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSWOMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Espaillat? ADRIANO ESPAILLAT, NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: (Inaudible).
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Estes?
RON ESTES, KANSAS CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Evans?
DWIGHT EVANS, PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Ezell?
MIKE EZELL, MISSISSIPPI CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fallon?
PAT FALLON, TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: (Inaudible) McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Feenstra?
RANDY FEENSTRA, IOWA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Ferguson?
A. FERGUSON, GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Finstad?
BRAD FINSTAD, MINNESOTA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fischbach?
MICHELLE FISCHBACH, MINNESOTA CONGRESSWOMAN: (Inaudible).
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fitzgerald?
SCOTT FITZGERALD, WISCONSIN CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fitzpatrick?
BRIAN FITZPATRICK, PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fleischmann?
CHARLES FLEISCHMANN, TENNESSEE CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fletcher?
LIZZIE FLETCHER, TEXAS CONGRESSWOMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Flood?
MIKE FLOOD, NEBRASKA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Foster?
BILL FOSTER, ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Foushee?
VALERIE FOUSHEE, NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSWOMAN: Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Foxx?
VIRGINIA FOXX, NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSWOMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Lois Frankle (ph)?
LOIS FRANKLE (ph): Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. C. Scott Franklin?
C. SCOTT FRANKLIN, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Kevin McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Frost?
MAXWELL FROST, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Fry?
RUSSELL FRY, SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Fulcher?
RUSS FULCHER, IDAHO CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Gaetz?
MATT GAETZ, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Andy Biggs.
JOHNSON: Biggs. Gallagher?
MIKE GALLAGHER, WISCONSIN CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
JOHNSON: McCarthy. Gallego?
RUBEN GALLEGO, ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN: (Inaudible) Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. Garamendi?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF CONGRESS CORRESPONDENT: All right. Just to make a note here, where we are on the vote count. At the beginning of this we -- we noted that Kevin McCarthy could only afford to lose four Republican votes in order to fall short of the 218 votes he will need in this vote. He has already fallen way short of that. He's lost eight votes already and we still have a number of opponents to get too. So as of right now unless votes change before the final gavel comes down, Kevin McCarthy will not win the speakership on the first vote. That is historic, Dana Bash, that has not happened since literally in 100 years, since 1923.
DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And so many times, those of us who are covering Congress have a sense that OK, if something doesn't happen in Plan A, then it will go to Plan B or C that we know the script for. There's no scripts now. We -- we -- we, not just reporters, they -- those on the floor, Kevin McCarthy, nobody knows what is going to happen now, and this isn't just drama that is about personality or even about leadership. This is drama that is about the House of Representatives. It actually constitutionally cannot function, the members cannot be sworn in until there is a speaker of the House.
BASH: This is the first and most important thing that they have to do and there is no sense of how this is going to play out. And we just-- and we just heard, sorry to interrupt, we just heard Congressman Good vote for Andy Biggs. That means that Kevin McCarthy has now lost nine Republicans and again John King he can only afford to lose four.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the question is how far these McCarthy opponents are willing to take the chaos, because if that's 10. Right? Ten -- ten Republicans have voted for somebody other than Kevin McCarthy by name. If another one does and all the Democrats vote for Jeffries, Hakeem Jeffries could be the speaker of the House. Now he will not be the speaker of the House for the next two years. He may not be the speaker of the House for two hours, but are they willing, are these Republicans willing to say Kevin McCarthy you must step aside and we are willing to let Hakeem Jeffries win this first vote to do so, or will the Republicans stop now and try to adjourn the vote. That's a challenge. Do you go off in a room and try to cut that Plan B, which they don't have?
TAPPER: Jamie Gangel, what are you hearing?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That would be beyond the chaos caucus if -- if that happened. Look, we know the Freedom Caucus can't elect the speaker. They don't have enough votes, but they can certainly block one. I just spoke to -- I was texting with Republican member of Congress, a source that has been trying to negotiate between the two sides, and the source said, that this mornings conference meeting did not go well. We saw some of that with the drama where people were coming out, but the source said it's even worse than you're hearing quote "there is a hard block. This morning's GOP Conference solidified that block". So now the question is, can Kevin McCarthy wear them down or the opposite.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well I think the challenge here is that they are at risk of letting, to John's point, spin out of their control. Right? So this block of hardliners has been fighting so far behind the scenes with their own people. But the Democrats have stood united here, we expect them to continue to stand united and has John pointed out, there isn't really an easy way out of this if Republicans remain divided. Because McCarthy and the Republican leadership actually need all of these people who went to that meeting, came out extremely angry, they need them to stop this process. They need them to stop Hakeem Jeffries from becoming speaker of the House and as John just points out, seven plus four is 11. At this rate, Hakeem Jeffries gets a majority present in voting. So I -- the challenges here are really unprecedented as we've outlined. TAPPER: Yes, and now -- to just-- just to interrupt. There's been in
that time not only did Congressman Gosar of Arizona vote for Andy Biggs, bringing up his margin to seven votes. But Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland voted, I think, for Lee Zelden who is no longer a member of the House of Representatives, Abby.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: (Inaudible) the point you don't have to get a vote in this process. Someone has to blink here and I think at this moment, no one knows who it's really going to be. One of the things that usually happens is that this gets worked out before they even get to the floor, and when you are someone who realizes you don't have the votes, as Kevin McCarthy once did back in 2015. You get yourself out of the process so that other people can figure out where the votes are, and because that hasn't happen. That's going to have -- have to happen today in-- in real time. Either McCarthy's going to twist some arms or someone else is going to whip those votes. The other thing about this morning's meeting as Jamie was just talking about.
McCarthy tried for -- for weeks to give out some (inaudible), and I think what you saw over the last 24 hours was a shift in strategy on the McCarthy side of things. They've gone from -- from playing nice to playing hardball and I think that you'll see that accelerating today, probably -- we could probably see it happening on the floor as the McCarthy really starts to put the pressure on these folks. Ratcheting up the rhetoric, getting angry really about it and I can't say that that will work but it's a shift in strategy that we've seen.
TAPPER: Let's -- let's go to Manu Raju on the Hill. We have heard threats we should note. Abby Phillip as we go to Manu, one of the Congressman who is behind McCarthy's speakership, Congressman Mike Rogers noted that individuals that are not supporting him might not end up with the chairmanships or even on the committees they want. That threat has already been made. Manu Raju, we're already at the point now where Kevin McCarthy has lost 11 House Republican votes. He only could afford to get four and there are at least seven other potential opponents who have left to vote.
MANU RAJU, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are in uncharted waters here. There is no playbook on how this plays out. There is no script. The Republicans are simply at a loss about a move forward here. There are very few options as well. One option is to vote to adjourn the chamber, to actually have a meeting behind the scenes.
RAJU: But in order to adjourn, you need 218 votes to do that and at the moment that would require Democrats to agree with Republicans to get to 218 votes. Democrats have indicated that they have not made a decision about whether or not to move forward or allow that to happen, or they could try to change the rules on how they actually elect a speaker, also would require a majority of the chamber and they don't have that. Or they could simply grind it out, ballet after ballet, that is the preferred course of Kevin McCarthy at the moment, saying we plan to vote endlessly essentially until he -- he told me, until he gets no more than four Republicans to defect. But that is going to be a very tall task, 11 members and counting right now.
It's hard to see how they change their mind after McCarthy already had made a number of concessions to give them more power, essentially what they want. Some of them have indicated to me, Bob Good of Virginia, he won't vote for McCarthy even if they got everything they wanted. So it is really unclear what his path here, for the moment the hope for McCarthy and allies is to let the votes play out. Let it happen. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail but that has just simply not happened after weeks of negotiations. After that incredibly intense meeting behind the scenes after voices were raised, curses were hurled and now they have to decide what to do. Something that we have not seen in a century. The speaker's race is about to go to multiple ballots.
TAPPER: And there isn't Kaitlan Collins, there isn't an obvious successor to Kevin McCarthy to step in the wings and that actually happened several years ago when McCarthy was going to be the House Republican leader, gave some bad interviews and which it became clear that he lost all his support. And then -- but this was all before the vote, there was a scrambling to get Paul Ryan, who was the Chairman of the Budget Committee, speaker. This is not the situation here. He brought it to the floor of the House.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and he dropped out then and he said he won't do that now. Two things (inaudible) Eli Crane and Michael Cloud who voted no. Eli Crane, he had some ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund, I think $1 million. That's Kevin McCarthy's decision there and he, to go out and know -- is notable though there has been rumblings he was going to. Michael Cloud, he had not been on someone's radar about voting no but what it suggests to me and I was on the Hill this morning talking to Mike Lawler and Bryan Fitzpatrick, two McCarthy voters. They said that they believe that the faction of the hardliners are saving some no votes, so then if they do, do multiple ballots today. The no votes against Kevin McCarthy will only continue to grow. So we will see like the opposition (inaudible) is going. They tactically, behind the scenes, are trying to do that to (inaudible). I just want to state one thing and that is about the size of the Republican majority?
BASH: The reason we are here. The reason Kevin McCarthy is here is because it is so small, and if you go back in time he was predicting a big wave, and then as the election got closer he predicted a smaller wave. It was barely a trickle and there are a lot of members in the chamber who are voting right now, who are voting to support Kevin McCarthy, there are Republicans telling me and I'm sure a lot of you guys here that a big problem that Republicans have is one that they have had in the last 12-15 years. Since the Tea Party started and it's that these extremes, small band of extremes have successfully taken over the leadership and that perhaps, what we saw this morning with McCarthy actually yelling back at them for the first time in a public way. That they're hoping that the fever breaks, it is unclear that will happen, but that is a dynamic that could play out as we're seeing something so historic.
TAPPER: Let me bring in former Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois, because Congressman it seems though your friend Kevin McCarthy is -- is headed to defeat on this first ballot. Obviously people could change votes before the gavel comes down, but right now he's 11 votes back from where he needs to be, or -- or -- or rather seven votes back where he needs to be. He can only afford to lose four House Republicans. He's lost 11 right now, and what do you make of the argument that McCarthy set the stage for this to happen himself by being tolerant of this ultra right-wing MAGA group. That is by the way, in some analysis the reason why there wasn't a red wave because there were too many far right candidates as opposed to more traditional conservative Republicans like yourself.
RODNEY DAVIS, FORMER ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: Well I tell you what, candidate quality matters and in the end, we didn't have the candidates in the right districts to win the general elections to increase our margins. But this isn't a Kevin McCarthy issue, this has been happening for years, it happened under Speaker Boehner, happened under Speaker Ryan. When we were in the minority, we were more united than ever, because we were fighting against the Democrats. We forgot we were fighting against their majority driven institution. These guys don't want to get to yes. They don't want to help McCarthy.
DAVIS: However, if Kevin McCarthy stays in this race and we go to ballot, after ballot, after ballot. There's going to be a lot of pressure on them, because their voters sent them here to hold Hunter Biden and Joe Biden accountable. They're not going to have Jamie Comer as the Chair of the Oversight Committee. They're not going to have -- they're not going to have Jim Jordan as the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, until we get a speaker of the House.
TAPPER: You think that voters sent the Republican majority to the House of Representatives to hold Hunter Biden accountable?
DAVIS: In their districts -- their very Republican districts, absolutely but we won the majority by winning districts that were won by Democrats. They were won by Joe Biden. Look, our representatives swing district for 10 years, I know what that general election fight's like. These guys have absolutely no idea.
TAPPER: Yes. Abby Phillip, I mean, maybe it's true that they're -- are a lot of voters out there who are in these 11 districts who think that the business of Congress is to investigate Hunter Biden. But I don't know if that's a winning formula for House Republicans.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I don't think there's evidence that, especially these members, who are part of the never Kevin caucus or what have you, really took away that message from the last election. Because they're in districts where that wasn't a factor, they're -- they were running in districts that were ruby red. A combination of just partisanship and redistricting, and so they -- they don't have to deal with that, but I think part of the problem here is that even if it's not a Kevin McCarthy that we're talking about. This could be anyone. It -- it is very hard to ideologically meet these members where they -- where they are. What they want is just --
TAPPER: Let's -- let's listen in for one second.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. McBath?
LUCY MCBATH, GEORGIA CONGRESSWOMAN: The distinguished gentleman from New York and the man with the plan, Hakeem Jeffries.
JOHNSON: Jeffries. McCarthy?
KEVIN MCCARTHY, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN: McCarthy.
TAPPER: I'm sorry to interrupt Abby Phillip. We wanted to hear McCarthy vote.
PHILLIP: That's all right. I mean, the -- the -- the point is, it is not clear to me that there is any one person who can give these numbers what they want, which is effectively -- they want to be, I'm talking about the -- the five, right now, who have really lead this charge. They want to be the -- the people running the House and I don't know that there's any person who can really give them that and Kevin McCarthy tried. He really courted these folks for years and years and years, but they've never really believed that he was one of them and that is -- because he's not -- he's not. We could go through the history of the, you know, young guns and -- and the -- the previous iteration of Kevin McCarthy but he's not and he never will be and for that reason, they may never come around. And I'm not sure who else is going to give them what they claim they need.
BASH: The one thing that he did that you're seeing the result of, in a way that he did not expect is after January 6th, going down and meeting with Donald Trump and giving him the oxygen that could have been, sort of, snuffed out. And he made that gamble, not because he thought Donald Trump was right in any way, even though he would never admit that in public now. He made that gamble because he wanted the people who are voting no to be on his side, and the gamble didn't pay off.
KING: What is Trump about? Trump is about grievance politics. Right now, these members are airing their grievances against Kevin McCarthy. They want a scalp. They don't want committee assignments. They don't -- they don't want to govern. They want a scalp. They want a trophy, and -- and on the first vote of a Republican Congress, a Democrat is going to get the most votes, won't be enough to be speaker. But unless they stop this vote, it's going to end with Hakeem Jeffries for Kevin McCarthy, it's not enough votes to be speaker, but the first vote of the new Republican Congress is going to have a Democrat on to and then the Republicans are going to have to deal with it.
TAPPER: So just to -- just to note here, we are long past the four votes that Kevin McCarthy could afford to lose. He has now lost 13 votes including Congresswoman-elect Anna Polimaluna (ph) of Florida voted for Jim Jordan and I think there was another vote from Congressman Troy Nehls of -- of Texas although I'm not quite sure, but that's -- that's 13. Let's go to Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill to give us an update.
TAPPER: And -- and Melanie no indication from Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader who is on this way to defeat in this first ballot, in his attempt to be speaker. No -- no indication that he is going to step aside.
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: No, in -- in fact, Jake, it's quite the opposite. I talked to a source close to Kevin McCarthy who said his mentality right now is quote, "we're -- we're going to war. Never backing down". And the source made the point that Kevin McCarthy's already made concession after concession to his right flank. He is done negotiating and now that this does poised to appear to be headed to multiple ballots, the strategy here is going to be grinding his opponents down and going through as many ballots as it takes. Now we'll see how long that is sustainable, but the feeling right now in McCarthy's camp is that this fight with the House Freedom Caucus has been along time coming. If you remember in 2015, this is the same group that denied McCarthy the speakership and forced him to drop out of the speaker's race before it even went to a vote. They say this time that is not the case. They are going to fight this out. He is not going down without a fight. Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, and there are 13 votes against Kevin McCarthy. We should note Kasie Hunt. The reason he didn't get it way back when, in 2015 was it was because, not because he was inadequately allegiant to MAGA or too much of a swamp monster, or any of the stuff being told about him now. It was because he was maladroit. He was clumsy. He admitted that the Bengazi hearings were all about trying to destroy Hillary Clinton.
HUNT: Right. Well, I mean, look how politics has changed so much since then. I mean, now those things are said outloud all the time and sort of taken for granted. It's almost rather quaint that he had to step down from his bid for the speaker over that back in 2015. But look I think it's important to, kind of, pull out the lens here and think about, like, big picture what's going on here, because what did we learn from the midterm elections where they thought this was going to be a red tidal wave, sweeping through the House of Representatives. A real change election that rejected, you know, complete Democrat -- Democratic control of Washington. Instead what we got was a message from voters that actually they want a little bit of stability and they're looking for people who are going to, kind of, maintain the status quo.
That that feeling of being sick of the up and down rollercoaster that was the Trump Administration for four years. They're still some feeling out there among the American electorate that, you know, we need to kind of get back to governing, to actually functioning and what's happening right now today is really putting on display the fact that Republicans are not capable of government. I mean I thought this was going to happen repeatedly through two years of Republican control, whether it was (inaudible), I don't know how many hours on government shutdowns in 2013 or whenever that was. There's the debt ceiling fight, etc cetera. My sense that this was going to be governing from crisis to crisis because of this group in the House.
I never expected that it would be so bad that right out of the gate, on the very first day of the Congress, that -- for the first time in 100 years it looks like they're be able to even chose a speaker. And that sends a message to the American public that, you know, Republicans are not in place right now where they are capable of governing the country. They're simply not and we'll see if they prove if they can figure it out. Right now this display is poor if you're gauging it based on, hey, can you actually pull the levers of government to make them function and work for the American people.
TAPPER: So, just to give an update. I originally -- I was trying to figure out who had voted against McCarthy and I said it was Congressman Troy Nehls based on this list of opponents. Nehls actually ended up voting for McCarthy, so I am -- I was mistaken about that but there have been two other votes against McCarthy. One Congressman Ralph Norman, a Republican of South Carolina, who voted for Andy Biggs. We knew that was coming. One, a surprise, Congresswoman Mary Miller from Illinois who voted for Jim Jordan and in fact Rodney Davis, former Congressman Rodney Davis. This is who you lost to, Congresswoman Mary Miller, who voted -- you -- you were-- you were redistricted and you ran against each other and she beat you. And now she's voting for Jim Jordan for speaker, what do you make of that?
DAVIS: Well I don't think anyone's surprised --that anyone in Illinois would be surprised by that vote but we've got to take a step back now and wonder. Because it's candidates like her that were supported by Former President Trump, now is Former President Trump playing both sides of this race right now. I mean, I would like to think that he would be loyal to Kevin, with his endorsement, but some of these votes. I've got to question that.
TAPPER: Yes. Manu Raju, let's go to you now. We have 16 votes -- Republican votes against Kevin McCarthy. Congressman Andy Biggs just got his ninth vote. That's 16. He could only afford to lose four. Manu, what's going to happen?
RAJU: Yeah, I mean this is going in the wrong direction to put it very bluntly. This was not what they expected several days ago. Remember -- remember yesterday, it looked like there were about 14 votes, five hard no votes.