Republican North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones is urging all candidates for Speaker of the House to drop out of the race if skeletons in their closet might embarrass the Republican Party.
Jones sent a letter Wednesday to Republican Conference chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers issuing a challenge to House Speaker candidates Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Jason Chaffetz, and Daniel Webster.
“Some of the most difficult times have been when our Republican leaders or potential Republican leaders must step down because of skeletons in their closets,” Jones wrote. “We’ve seen it with former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Bob Livingston, who ran for Speaker in 1998.”
“With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public,” Jones wrote.
Jones’ reference to Bob Livingston makes clear that he thinks adultery should be one of the disqualifying skeletons in the race. Livingston withdrew from the Speaker’s race after Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt put out an open call for stories about Republican lawmakers cheating on their wives.
Jones also mentioned Livingston in his remarks Tuesday night outside the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., where the Speaker candidates met with conservative House groups to state their case.
Jones said in those remarks that a McCarthy staffer was very rude to his own staff when he introduced a bill to name a courthouse after a deceased personal friend.