Washington, D.C. – Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) today spoke with Brett Baier on Special Report about his strategy for strong conservative leadership. Excerpts of the interview are below, or watch online here.
BAIER: You are officially running for speaker as of this afternoon. So, as speaker, what would you do differently than John Boehner?
MCCARTHY: Well, as speaker, the speaker sets the culture. And the culture in Washington has to change. You know we’ve been governing by crisis, and there’s too many people in Washington who care about power and institutions. They don’t care about making a difference in the lives of the average American. Look, it’s not going to be easy to change this culture, and it won’t happen over night, but that’s my mission.
BAIER: You heard the sound byte from Speaker Boehner this weekend on a Sunday show that he described some conservatives in the House Republican Caucus as ‘false prophets.’ Is he right?
MCCARTHY: Look, I believe in Reagan’s 11th commandment. I believe we are a team. I believe everybody has a right to be a part of the team. I’m not the manager, I’m the team captain, so everybody has an opportunity to help change. We just have to come together and work in the same direction…. You know, I’m sensitive to what I’m hearing outside of the beltway. I want us to be closer to who we represent. I want the people to begin to feel again that this is their government. That they are in charge and that we serve them.
BAIER: Do you think when Speaker Boehner negotiated with the White House and President Obama on the grand bargain—on entitlements, taxes—that that was ever real? Would you have pursued as vigorously as John Boehner did the possibility of that compromise—knowing what you know about the White House?
MCCARTHY: You know, I don’t think this White House can ever come to an agreement. But, I will work with anyone who wants to work. Why don’t you try to be able to solve a problem? Now, I’m not going to raise taxes because we know that doesn’t work. But if we don’t deal with entitlements and get reform—we’ve got some reform this year—$2.9 trillion. But we need to build more to be able to save this country.