Fox News host Sean Hannity, also a nationally-syndicated radio host, tells Breitbart News exclusively that he thinks Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) should challenge Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) for the Speakership of the House.
“The American people need bold inspiring solutions to reverse the damaging policies of the President and his party,” Hannity said in an email. “This is not a time for half measures. It’s time for new dynamic leadership in the House of Representatives. Trey Gowdy is my choice for speaker. He has the ability to articulate and implement the changes needed to get the country on the right path.”
Gowdy has a “plan to balance the budget, secure the borders, push for energy independence and replace Obamacare with personal healthcare savings accounts,” Hannity said, adding that Boehner has burned conservatives far too much.
“John Boehner has snubbed and ignored conservatives for too long, as evidenced by the recent cromnibus budget deal he made with Obama, Reid and Hoyer,” Hannity said. “It’s time he step aside for the good of country and the conservative movement.”
Gowdy, through spokeswoman Amanda Duvall, declined the invitation from Hannity to challenge Boehner.
“Rep. Gowdy has said his time and attention will continue to be devoted to the work assigned to him,” Duvall said in an email in response to Hannity’s quote. “He is not interested in any leadership positions and believes one can have influence without the title.”
Duvall hasn’t immediately responded to follow-up requests about whether Gowdy will support Boehner in the Speakership elections on Jan. 6 and what Gowdy thinks about the recent race-tinged scandal facing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Scalise faces calls for his resignation over the discovery of his longtime ties to a top aide to former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) grand wizard David Duke.
Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Scalise after the first part of the scandal seemed to be over. But, just as they issued statements claiming Scalise’s speech to Duke’s white supremacist organization EURO back in 2002 was an isolated incident, evidence of a
longstanding relationship between Duke’s top political hand, Kenneth Knight, emerged.
That relationship included the ex-KKK grand wizard’s top gun donating $1,000 to Scalise’s campaign for the U.S. House six years after the 2002 event, working the phones on behalf of Scalise’s campaign, and speaking frequently—they were neighbors—about political issues, including issues important to Duke’s racist causes.
Scalise hasn’t said anything about his years-long political ties to Duke’s top aide. Instead, in a new statement coinciding with Boehner and McCarthy rallying to his side, he too blamed this on an isolated incident. Scalise said in the new statement:
Twelve years ago, I spoke to many different Louisiana groups as a state representative, trying to build support for legislation that focused on cutting wasteful state spending, eliminating government corruption, and stopping tax hikes. One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn. It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold. I am very disappointed that anyone would try to infer otherwise for political gain. As a Catholic, these groups hold views that are vehemently opposed to my own personal faith, and I reject that kind of hateful bigotry. Those who know me best know I have always been passionate about helping, serving, and fighting for every family that I represent. And I will continue to do so.
While this is going on, another organized coup attempt against Boehner—similar to the one at the beginning of the last Congress—appears to forming.
“Right now, I’ve been meeting with a small group, and we — about 16, 18 — and we’re hoping to have a name of a sitting member of Congress that we can call out their name,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), a top rebel and opponent of Boehner’s, said in a radio interview before Christmas.
While guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh’s nationally-syndicated radio program on Tuesday, RedState’s Erick Erickson added that the number seems to be up to 25—nearly the 29 total members that would be needed to force the speakership election to a second ballot, the first crucial step necessary in a successful plot to oust Boehner.
Boehner’s team is confident, however, that he will be re-elected. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas the speaker expects no issues on election day.
“Rep. Boehner was selected as the House Republican Conference’s choice for Speaker last month,” Boehner aide Michael Steel said in an email, “and he expects to be elected by the whole House next week.”
Steel added, too, according to Pappas, “the speaker has said publicly that there will be no punishment for those who do not support him in the public vote”—something that may embolden conservative opposition to him. After the 2012 election, Boehner purged four members—including Jones—from their committee assignments due to their opposition to leadership, something that caused many who considered supporting the ultimately failed coup attempt to back down.