A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference. And there is a small group of members discussing whether someone should challenge him for minority leader if Trump is defeated Nov. 3.
The matter bubbled to the surface this week with the primary election of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a fringe House candidate in Georgia who espouses the QAnon conspiracy theory and has made numerous racist comments. Multiple Republicans implored McCarthy to help defeat her by supporting her primary opponent. But McCarthy refused, phoning the candidate in an apparent peace accord before the primary, while Trump embraced her on Twitter this week as a “future Republican Star.”
However, the frustration with McCarthy had already been brewing for weeks as Trump’s polling has sagged behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. According to interviews with more than 10 House Republicans — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank — some GOP lawmakers are worried that McCarthy has tied the conference too much to Trump, refusing to stand up to the president or act as a buffer to distinguish the conference from him.