Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Donalds Nominated For Sixth Speaker Ballot; House Taking Sixth Speaker Vote As McCarthy's Path Uncertain; McCarthy Appears To Suffer Defeat On Sixth Speaker Ballot. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 04, 2023 - 15:30   ET



REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): Everybody came here because the said to their constituents, this town is broken and I want to fix it. Well, how are you going to fix it if you come to this town and just step right in line and keep doing the same things that everybody has done before you? It's not going to fix it, and the American people know it.

And I would say this. I think the person that has done the most, that has done the most to make this fabulous, this wonderful Republican majority, is Speaker Pelosi and her policies. That's what has achieved this majority over here because the American people are sick and tired of it, and they had had enough of it.

This is not about -- this is not about personalities. It's not about personalities. It's a about the policies that come out of here. This is not about personalities on this side of the aisle or that said of the aisle. We believe, and we want to believe -- we believe and we want to believe that every person that comes here, left, right, center, has the best intentions for our country, the best intentions for our country. And it's not about the personalities in this contest.

It is not personal for us, but because we all acknowledge and we all know that Washington is broken, we must take a new path. There must be a new vision so that Congress works for the American people because the American people are watching what's happening here, and they've watched what's happened here, and they're sure in their hearts and they can prove it that this town works for this town. That's who this town is working for.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are making history today. We are making history in this process, and we are showing the American people that this process works. Yes, it's been about 100 years. It's been about 100 years since this has happened before, but we have said we are not going to take anymore of Washington being broken. We're going to do something for the American people, and we're going to fix it, and is it going to be painful, and is it going to be difficult? Yes, it probably is. That's why it took 100 years. It probably is, but we're going to do it, and we can also make history today by making the first --

HOUSE READING CLERK: Will the House be in order.

PERRY: By electing the first black Republican Speaker of the House. Yes, thank you. Now as my colleagues probably know, the first black members of Congress to serve in this body were Republicans. They were Republicans. As a matter of fact, you probably also know that Frederick Douglas who went and worked with Abraham Lincoln to emancipate the people of color in this country said he would never be anything but a Republican. He would never be anything but a Republican.

I am here to nominate Byron Donalds because he has accomplished many things. He is a man of faith. He is a family man. He is a businessman, and he is a man of community service. He's come from the school of hard knocks because not all outcomes in life are equal, but America is the place where we can each do great things regardless of our humble beginnings. Each one of us.

Now Byron is a product of a single family where it's not easy. It's not easy, but he has succeeded in America, and that's a testament to what we have created here, and what we're trying to save. He's got a record of accomplishing things. He has a record of being on the right side. He is respected. He is trusted. He is capable, and he achieves results.

Now Byron has a big mind and he's big in stature as well. He's very nice, but I will tell you this, in a negotiation -- in a negotiation with Chuck Schumer, I wouldn't want to be on the other side of Byron Donalds. He knows who he is. He knows what his foundation is, and he knows that Washington is broken. And what Chuck Schumer sends over here isn't going to work out for the American people.

Ladies and gentlemen, Washington is broken. Byron Donalds will inspire us and restore our citizen's faith that this institution actually works for them. It is my highest honor to nominate the gentleman from Florida, Byron Donalds to be next Speaker of the House. And I yield.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reading clerk will call the roll the roll.

HOUSE READING CLERK: Adams -- Jeffries.

Aderholt -- McCarthy.

Aguilar -- Jeffries.

Crawford -- McCarthy.

Allen -- McCarthy.

Allred -- Jeffries.

Amodei -- McCarthy.

Armstrong -- McCarthy.

Harrington -- McCarthy.

Auchincloss -- Jeffries. Babin -- McCarthy.

Bacon -- McCarthy.

Baird -- McCarthy.

Balderson -- McCarthy.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, we are now in the sixth ballot for Speaker of the House. Let's go to CNN's Manu Raju who has some new reporting. And Manu, you're hearing signs of a potential thaw between McCarthy allies and the 20 Republican rebels. Tell us more.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, welcome news for Kevin McCarthy after days -- two days of seeing him fall short at ballot after ballot, not getting the 218 votes to become Speaker. But now are signs of there are talks that are moving in a direction that these opponents want.

One of them is Congressman Chip Roy. He's one of the 20 who voted over and over again against Kevin McCarthy. He has pushed for a number of process reforms, things to empower rank and file members over the speakership and weaken the leadership of his conference. He says he has had, quote, more productive discussions over the last two hours than he has had over the last several weeks.

He said that, you know, he compared this to high school when you are right before an exam. You sometimes you do better work before an exam than you cramming for an exam than you might have done a few weeks earlier. And he said we're getting to a point where we're starting to crystallize what our differences are but there's a little bit more ways to go.

Now Jake, this comes at a critical moment. Because we expect this could be the last vote of the day. The House will have to adjourn after this. They need 218 votes to do that. It's still uncertain whether they will get the 218 votes. Republicans believe they will, and if they adjourn, that's when these critical negotiations will take place tonight.

There is an effort by McCarthy allies to put together a negotiating group, some key emissaries to Kevin McCarthy. As well as some of those people who are part of that 20-member block opposing Kevin McCarthy. All getting in a room, negotiating, try to see where they are going forward and Roy telling me that he's part of this as well.

TAPPER: All right, let's listen in because we want to see how Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado is going to vote.

HOUSE READING CLERK: Bonamici -- Jeffries.

Bost -- McCarthy.

Bowman -- Jeffries.

Boyle of Pennsylvania -- Jeffries. Brecheen -- Donalds.

Brown -- Jeffries.

Brownley -- Jeffries.

Buchanan -- McCarthy.

Buck -- Buck?

Bucshon -- McCarthy.

Budzinski -- Jeffries.

Burchett --


TAPPER: All right, and so Congressman Ken Buck as far as we could tell did not vote when his name was called. That's not all that unusual because at the end of the roll call on a vote, they normally go after any stragglers that there might have been. But we were watching Ken Buck because he was a McCarthy supporter who said he voted for McCarthy five times but the fifth time is the last time McCarthy could count on his vote. And we wanted to see if there was continued erosion of McCarthy support.

Abby Phillip, I don't know what Ken Buck is doing, but he might be just kind of waiting to get the lay of the land before he makes his decision.

ABBY PHILLIP, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and just to see what happens in this latest vote if anything changes. Last time he waited until the end as well, but, you know, the interesting thing is that Buck said to us, it's either negotiate or get out of the game. And as Manu just reported, there is a little bit of movement to at least have some -- to have some talks this afternoon. And so, I'm not sure how that will affect his vote, frankly. Maybe he will give it more time. Maybe he might choose to vote present just to show that he wants it to continue to play out, but I think that will be a big factor.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think it's probably good for team McCarthy that Buck has yet to vote because he is at beginning of the alphabet obviously, and anyone who is looking to take cues to see where this is headed would have taken a no or present vote from Buck as a sign to potentially move. So, you know, now we're going to have the wait likely until the end of the tally to hear what he actually is going to come out and do here.

And you know, I think your point, Abby, is the right one to underscore. These talks that seem to be accelerating. Because, you know, part of why also they haven't been able to adjourn the House today, and we're on the sixth vote instead of, you know, where, you know, McCarthy allies were talking about potentially trying to adjourning right away to continue the conversations. Is because Democrats had taken a hard line and said, no, we're not going to help you adjourn the house, and the rebels weren't going to help with it either.

So, if there are productive negotiations and people do feel like they're getting somewhere, it makes it much more realistic that they could get to 218 for an adjournment and actually let Republican start to shake this in a way that, you know, we've clearly -- I don't know how many times we've used the phrase Groundhog Day today.

TAPPER: Yes, let's listen in see how Congressman Michael Cloud votes which is coming next. This could be the fifth vote.

HOUSE READING CLERK: Cloud -- Donalds.

TAPPER: And there it is. So that is again, five votes for Congressman Donalds which means as we all recall, Kevin McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes and he has now lost a fifth Republican vote. This is the sixth ballot, and the sixth time that Kevin McCarthy lost it in the Cs. They were voting alphabetically, and he lost it in the Cs once again.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: You can see why the lady from Florida was making jokes about drinking on the floor. They're sitting here going around and around, waiting for this. I mean, the Republicans that we've been speaking with have said that after this round, the plan is likely to adjourn. The question of course is what happens behind closed doors.

Once they do that and once, they start talking about this, if other names emerge. The question that you asked Ken Buck earlier -- which I think is a really good one -- which is can Steve Scalise get to 218? That's not totally clear to all of us yet, of what the alternatives here look like. And you've heard from those who are saying they're voting for McCarthy, but a lot of them have said behind the scenes, you know, they're voting for McCarthy until an alternative emerges.

TAPPER: So, just to be clear what now what's going on, we're in the middle of the sixth vote for a Speaker of the House. This has not happened since 1923. And it looks as though based on the vote count as of now that -- the vote count will ultimately be very similar, if not the exact same as the fifth ballot and the fourth ballot. But we shall see. We're going to squeeze in a very, very quick break as we are in the midst of a sixth in a row, apparent defeat for Kevin McCarthy on day two where the United States of America does not have a Speaker of the House. More CNN special coverage right after this.

HOUSE READING CLERK: ... McCarthy. Davis of Illinois. Jeffries.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back to CNN's special live coverage, 6th time not a charm for Kevin McCarthy, another defeat for the California Republican on the House floor. But a potentially positive sign, McCarthy lieutenants are currently brokering a meeting with some of the GOP hardliners from the "Never Kevin Camp." CNN's Melanie Zanona is on Capitol Hill. What do you know about the meeting -- Melanie?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, but Anderson, at this point, the question is whether they're going to be able to adjourn after they wrap up this vote. As you mentioned, Kevin McCarthy is now poised to lose on his sixth ballot. It's unclear whether his opposition is going to grow or shrink. We're still waiting to see the final vote tally.

Manu Raju actually did just catch up with Ken Buck. So, I know we were all watching to see how he would vote. And he told McCarthy that -- he told Manu that he is still voting for McCarthy. So, at least that vote won't change.

So, like I said, the question is whether they're going to be able to adjourn. And Democrats said they're not helping this time around to give them the votes for a motion to adjourn. So, they're going to have to get enough support from all Republicans -- or 218 Republicans in order to do that.

However, in a positive sign for McCarthy, Chip Roy -- one of these conservative hardliners -- told Manu Raju that they are seeing good faith negotiations, that they've had more progress over the last two hours than in the last two weeks. So, perhaps a deal is going to be worked out that some of these hardliners will agree to the motion to adjourn so that they could go into the meetings and try to regroup.


Of course, the question -- there's a couple of questions there, right. So, first of all, they have to figure out how many people are actually gettable. Chip Roy was long seen as someone who actually is gettable. It's unclear how many more people are in that camp. But they're going to try and figure that out. So, that's what they're doing now. They're setting up these negotiations, trying to figure out who's going to be the meetings, broker -- who's going to be sort of emissaries for McCarthy to hash this all out. But as we've seen, another 6th ballot down for Kevin McCarthy.

COOPER: Yes, Melanie Zanona, appreciate that for the team here in New York. Chip Roy may be gettable. I mean, it seems like he does have -- at least he says he has some rules he would like to see, but are these other -- I mean, is a Matt Gaetz gettable?

MONDAIRE JONES, (D) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: No, Matt Gaetz is not gettable. And I don't think that a majority of the 20 or so people voting for someone other than Kevin McCarthy on the Republican side are gettable. I can't stop thinking about Lauren Boebert's speech. In which she took on Donald Trump directly on the floor of the House and saying, no, Donald Trump, you should be calling Kevin McCarthy and telling him to drop out because he doesn't have the votes.

Remember, Donald Trump created these people. But now they're like the robots in "Terminator" becoming self-aware and then taking over. ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, listen, Chip Roy may be gettable, but, the numbers, I see virtually no path to victory for Kevin McCarthy. And the fact that all day they're on the floor, they're walking around and they're not having these conversations, they're not making these negotiations. He hasn't flipped a single vote at this point. So, the fact that he let this drag on to the second day to the 6th loss ballot and now he saying, maybe we'll have a meeting and pull some up.

They got to learn how to cut bait. There is no path to victory as far as I can see here. And the one thing that I want to warn, Kevin McCarthy's made massive concessions. We talked about the motion --

COOPER: He's already made them.

GRIFFIN: Already. What else can he do? That's when it starts to get scary for those of us who are pro-governance Republicans, is that some of the things like, you know, turning over the January 6th committee transcripts, turning over things -- you know, releasing all of the committee's reports. This is something that some conservatives have been floating. It starts to get dicey when he is literally throwing the kitchen sink to try to get the farthest right wing of the conference on board with him. Not a good sign.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And further weakening whoever speakership. You know, if he gets it, you know, they're talking about selling shares of himself. Essentially selling shares of the speakership and you wonder what moderates will do then. I mean, they're already nervous about some of the concessions that he made around the motion to vacate. So, he keeps on piling stuff on and giving away goodies to this group of 20, then I think you're going to have moderates get a little nervous.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think some of the moderate alleys of McCarthy are going to start to get a bit wobbly. You know, look, it's true, I agree with Alyssa. That, you know, maybe Chip Roy or a few of the others could come back. Maybe they'll have these meetings and pick a few off. But when I listen to these speeches, I have to believe there are at least five hard nos. Now he needs to turn 17 votes. He must turn all 17. I don't see it right now. But Scott Perry sounded like a hard no. Gaetz sounded like a hard no. Lauren Boebert sounded a hard no and there are probably a few others.

I mean, so I just don't know how he gets to that number. By the way, if they break, they adjourn, they recess and go to their meetings, some beat-down sessions. We'll see how many people that moves. But is it going to move 17? I kind of doubt it.

GRIFFIN: But what I think is fascinating, I mean if one thing is consistent in Washington, is that there's many people with just blind ambition. We know that there are other Republicans who at least in prior junctions would have seen themselves as future Speakers of the House.

The fact that no one has started maneuvering who could have a fighting chance, says to me that Kevin McCarthy has actually brokered a deal that makes the speakership so undesirable that even an Elise Stefanik, for example say, I'm going to sit back and be conference chair. I got my big staff. I've got my national profiler, I'm going to wait for a better time to do it. Same with the Scalise. I mean, this is the closest Steve Scalise has been in his life to being Speaker. Yet he's not really maneuvering.

COOPER: So, any new person would still have to abide by the deals take --

GRIFFIN: I don't see how they can't.

JONES: But who would want to be Speaker under a rules package where five people can successfully move to replace you. I would never agree to that.

COOPER: They said they want to move it to one.

JONES: I don't know why Scalise would agree to something like that.

DENT: By the way, in my view I thought the leadership has taken on too much authority in Washington in recent years. And the committee chair should have more authority than they do like in the old days. But many of the people making these proposals aren't really here to make Washington work better, governments work better, they're not. They're really more about blowing the place up, making sure that you can't govern. So, they talk in rhetoric, and so, oh, we're trying to make the process better, more open, more transparent, but Chip Roy --


GRIFFIN: Most of these people haven't ever even moved bills. They're not serious legislatures, it's a lot more about building their national profile and you know, what might come next.


COOPER: The Republican or Republican clash still happening. Six ballots later, still no trace of a solution. More coverage on the chaos in the House next on "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER."


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.