During an appearance on Jeannine Pirro’s program, Justice With Jeanine, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked if the Republican Party is having an “identity crisis,” and who will lead the party going forward. Instead of answering, perhaps logically, that President Donald Trump will continue to lead the party – as an overwhelming number of Republicans desire – McCarthy demurred, instead talking about Abraham Lincoln and using some of the former President’s talking points to avoid the question altogether.
“Is the Republican Party, is it facing an identity crisis in terms of who they are? Who is going to lead us coming out of this mess?” asked Pirro. Instead of answering, McCarthy launched into a lengthy sermon about the Republican Party’s history.
“The Republican Party has always been a party of ideas, the thing you have to understand, Abraham Lincoln was our very first president, he believed in the exceptionalism of our country,” said McCarthy. “There has been no other country like us, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that we are all equal.”
McCarthy then seemed to claim ownership of the Republican Party’s stellar performance in the 2020 election, when they lost no seats in the U.S. House, despite President Trump widely being credited for this due to his ability to excite, energize, and expand the Republican base.
“This is only the first time since 1994 no Republican incumbent in Congress lost, we are nailing the ability to have the majority, but our ideas our stronger,” said McCarthy, before then seeming to parrot one of President Trump’s familiar talking points. “We are going to continue to listen to the forgotten women and man in this, we are the party of the hardworking American taxpayer.”
Pirro, seeming frustrated that McCarthy dodged her question, again asked, “Who is going to lead the fight?” and “The question is, how do we get back to level again?” Instead of answering the question, McCarthy again spoke about Joe Biden.
“He’s reversing the course of what President Trump and the Republicans were able to do,” said McCarthy. “We can’t sit back and just let him do it.”
Pirro was not alone in her frustration that McCarthy refused to identify President Trump as the leader of the Republican Party.
“Kevin McCarthy. I saw you on Fox tonight. You were asked who is going to lead the Republican Party,” wrote civil rights attorney and talk show host Leo Terrell. “You refused to answer the question.”
“I will answer the question for you. Our Leader is President Trump,” he wrote, “Remember his name!”
Kevin McCarthy. I saw you on Fox tonight. You were asked who is going to lead the Republican party. You refused to answer the question. I will answer the question for you. Our Leader is President Trump Remember his name!!!!
— TheLeoTerrell (@TheLeoTerrell) February 21, 2021
Perhaps tellingly, McCarthy only uploaded a short 50 second clip of his interview with Pirro to social media. The clip did not include his obvious dodging of her leadership question.
McCarthy’s refusal to name President Trump as the spiritual leader of the Republican Party comes as the former President has pledged to back America First candidates and challenge establishment Republicans in the upcoming midterms.
It appears McCarthy will use his diminished influence over the House and Republican donors to fight back against President Trump’s plan to remake the Republican Party in the image of America First.