Eleven defeats in Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) speakership bid is about what it should take to carry the job, said Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Jan. 5, adding that “accountability” is a key factor in the ongoing Republican standoff.

McCarthy, the party favorite from California, has been blocked by up to 20 hardliners out of the 222 House Republicans over the past three days from commanding the speaker’s gravel in the 118th Congress. Staunchly conservative members say he hasn’t performed well in the past as a minority leader and will not institute changes they see as necessary if he assumes the speakership.

The bitter race marked the first time in a century that a House Speaker nominee was not decided on the first vote, as the GOP leader lost an 11th straight vote late Thursday. Many politicians and commentators from both sides of the aisle have described the standoff as a calamity for both the GOP and Congress.

But Carlson thinks otherwise.

“It’s not a disaster. It’s how the system is supposed to work,” the popular cable news host said on his Thursday night show. “Here we will have suffering, accountability, and repentance. Those are not bad things—No, those are the best things,” he said.

“If there’s one thing that Washington hates, on a bipartisan basis, it’s accountability. And unfortunately, the Republican Party is no different in that. No one is ever punished for failure or ever forced to explain how those failures happen,” the conservative political commentator added. “And as a result of that lack of accountability, no one ever improves. Everybody just keeps getting rewarded for producing the same disasters.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 FOX Nation Patriot Awards in Hollywood, Florida on Nov. 17, 2022. (Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

Carlson cited the GOP’s disappointing performance in the midterms, which he said McCarthy shares responsibility for.

Republican leaders in Washington “have no plan to change. They’d like to ignore what happened in November and move on as if everything is fine,” Carlson said. “Republican voters see the same people in charge producing the same mediocre results, paying a lot more attention to lobbyists than to them. That’s not democracy. Actually, it’s the opposite of democracy,” he continued.

Carlson said that McCarthy could eventually become the new House speaker “by default” when a deal is reached, given the lack of a viable challenger.

“Here’s the critical thing to know,” said the host. “If he does become speaker, by the time he becomes speaker, Kevin McCarthy will have learned a lot. Kevin McCarthy will have publicly acknowledged his failures. He will have been forced to face the people he has disappointed both within the Congress and outside of it. And he will have promised to change.”

“Kevin McCarthy never would have done any of that unless he was forced to. None of us will ever do any of that unless we’re forced to,” Carlson concluded.


Such remarks came as House Republicans failed for a third day in a row since Tuesday to vote McCarthy into the speaker’s chair. Voting resumed at noon on Friday.

New York Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, on the other hand, received the votes of all 212 members of his party in every single count beginning on Jan. 3, to be House minority leader.

“House Democrats are united and are committed to staying in Washington for as long as it takes to get the Congress organized.” Democratic leaders said in a joint statement on Jan. 5.

“Unfortunately, House Republicans remain unable to organize themselves in a manner that allows the Congress to move forward and do the business of the American people,” the lawmakers said in the release.

‘Messy by Design’

Many have called the House GOP struggle a win for democracy, despite McCarthy repeatedly falling short of the votes he need.

“Sure, it looks messy,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) in a Wednesday speech nominating McCarthy for speaker. “But democracy is messy—by design,” the Wisconsin Republican continued.

“That’s a feature, not a bug, of our system,” Gallagher said. “We air it all out in the open for the American people to see because, at the end of the day, the president is not in charge, the Supreme Court is not in charge, speaker of the house is not even in charge. The American people are in charge.”

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who flipped his vote against McCarthy for the first time on Jan. 3 before receiving 12 ballots in the last round Thursday, also defends the seemingly chaotic process.

“Having a deliberative discussion(it is messy at times) but in the long term, is in the nation’s best interests,” the Florida congressman said later on Twitter on Tuesday. “When the dust settles, we will have a Republican Speaker. Now is the time for our conference to debate and come to a consensus. This will take time.”

During the twelfth vote on Friday, Donalds flipped his vote back to McCarthy.

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) talks with fellow Republicans after the new Congress failed to elect a new House Speaker at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 03, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While both Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have publicly called on House Republicans Wednesday to unite and cast ballots for McCarthy’s speakership bid, such endorsements had only come in vain to win over the backing from populist conservatives despite increasingly harsh criticism from top Republicans such as

While Trump, who has endorsed McCarthy for speaker, called on Republicans to unite behind the Californian earlier this week, the former president shared a slightly different perspective on Thursday.

“I actually think that a big Republican VICTORY today, after going through numerous Roll Calls that failed to produce a Speaker of the House, has made the position & process of getting to be Speaker BIGGER & MORE IMPORTANT than if it were done in the more traditional way,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who earlier this week warned of “chaos” if McCarthy opponents didn’t coalesce around the party leader, also appeared to change as the events unfolded.

“I prefer the clumsy, frustrating open process in the US House to the way Putin or Xi Jinping or the Iranian Ayatollah or Kim Jong Un would handle it,” he wrote on Twitter late Wednesday.

“Freedom can be frustrating, sloppy, slightly uncontrollable and amazingly creative. That is the joy of being an American,” Gingrich added.

The Epoch Times has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.

Rita Li

Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on U.S. and China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.

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