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Trump loyalists could complicate Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker of the House

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After the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club earlier this year, McCarthy warned Attorney General Merrick Garland to prepare for oversight hearings if Republicans controlled the House. It’s a promise Madrid are sure McCarthy will keep.

“I think you’re going to see Hunter Biden [the president’s son] brought before the commissions of inquiry. I think you’ll probably see an effort to impeach the president, Joe Biden. I think you will probably see an effort to impeach Merrick Garland,” Madrid said. It’s the same playbook McCarthy adopted during the hearings into the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

McCarthy acknowledged that the hearings were intended to lower Clinton’s approval rating and raise questions about her leadership ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy departs Air Force One with then-President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport in 2019. (Michael Kovac/WireImage)

The transition from Nancy Pelosi to Kevin McCarthy as a speaker is enough to provide a boost.

“I can’t imagine a much more different approach to leadership, not just ideologically but programmatically, between Pelosi and McCarthy in the same role,” Schnur said.

“It’s hard to think of how much Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy have in common. They’re bipeds. They have opposable thumbs. They both sit in the United States House of Representatives and come from the state from California. That pretty much covers everything,” he joked.

Marc Sandalow of the Washington Center at the University of California says it could be difficult for McCarthy to keep his members together — especially Trump loyalists, and a growing number of members who embrace QAnon conspiracy theories.

“There is a group of about three dozen members of the Freedom Caucus who are willing to push harder on conservative issues. They want to shut down the government, not raise the debt ceiling. McCarthy was never one of those, and that was a problem for him,” Sandalow said.

Sandalow said the challenge for McCarthy, especially with a narrow majority, is that he lacks trust with the far right in his caucus.

“Nancy Pelosi has the credibility to go to the left and say, ‘I, my heart is with you. Trust me. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have that credibility with the right,'” Sandalow said.

That lack of trust stems from things like McCarthy’s comments on the floor of the House after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“The violence, destruction and chaos that we saw earlier in the day was unacceptable and un-American,” McCarthy said after the House returned. “It was the saddest day of my life as a member of this institution.”

Praising members “who helped hold the line,” McCarthy said, “Democrats and Republicans showed courage, calm and determination” during the attack on the Capitol.