Mike Gallagher: ‘I Don’t Have a Security Clearance’ Without a Speaker, Can’t Conduct Essential Business


More than a dozen combat veterans made an appeal Wednesday for their colleagues in Congress to elect House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker, raising the point that the position’s vacancy means national security work is on hold.

The veterans, all members and incoming members of Congress, made their case at a press conference after Republicans failed to elect a speaker after a sixth round of voting Wednesday.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a retired Marine Corps intelligence officer, had planned to meet with the chairman of the joint chiefs in a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) on Wednesday, but, Gallagher said, “I’m informed by House security that technically I don’t have a clearance.”

Gallagher serves on the House Armed Services and Intel Committees, and was appointed by McCarthy to lead a new select committee on China that will work to address the United States’ reliance on and threats from the country.

“My point is, we have work to do that we can’t do right now,” Gallagher said. “We’ve seen what happens over the last two years when deterrence fails, when weakness invites aggression.”

Gallagher was one of the six who have stood up to nominate McCarthy for speaker.

Rep.-elect John James (R-MI), a West Point graduate who served in Iraq as an Apache pilot, echoed Gallagher’s sentiments.

“We have a common vision to put service before self, and we can’t do that if there are people in our own conference who are putting self before service,” James said.

In the sixth round of voting, McCarthy received 201 votes, House Democrat Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) received 212 votes, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) received 20 votes, and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) voted present.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., is followed by reporters as he heads to the House Floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is followed by reporters as he heads to the House Floor on Capitol Hill, January 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The 20 defectors, many from the conservative anti-establishment House Freedom Caucus, have refused to vote for McCarthy, but some remain in negotiations with the leader on various structural changes and other commitments and have expressed a willingness to continue those negotiations.

Others, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ), have conveyed that nothing will change their vote but have offered no alternative Republican who could secure the majority of votes needed to win.

Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS), who became a major general and was twice a Bronze Star recipient during his more than 30 years of military service, spoke in combat terms, saying the 20 defectors were demanding “unconditional surrender.”

“We’ve asked and asked, ‘What is it you want? What do you need?’” Kelly said.

He added, “But you have 20 people demanding the unconditional surrender of — including this group of warriors. We will not unconditionally surrender. Tell us what you want. We might surrender if you tell us the terms, but just so you know, we’re in a strong position. There’s 201 of us and 20 of them.”

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), another decorated combat veteran and the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, said in response to a question about if American people care that the speaker is “only” McCarthy, that the speaker vote was about who would best execute Republicans’ agenda.

“It’s not only our agenda. It’s stopping an agenda that we believe is destructive for this country,” Waltz said, citing the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, the southern border crisis, crime, and inflation. “And we believe that Kevin McCarthy laid out that agenda, helped many members, including some that are voting no to him, directly helped them get elected, and can govern a conference with a lot of different viewpoints.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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