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Rep. Crenshaw calls McCarthy opponents ‘terrorists’

Congressman Dan Crenshaw speaks at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event in Austin on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. (LOLA GOMEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN, TNS).
January 05, 2023

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) called a group of his party colleagues “terrorists” and “children” for repeatedly blocking Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) election as Speaker of the House, a barrier to getting the new Congress in gear that hasn’t happened in a century.

“Look, you pushed us into this corner,” Crenshaw said of the Republican holdouts on the Guy Benson Show. “So now we’re saying, we won’t vote for anyone but McCarthy. That’s why we’re saying it, because we cannot let the terrorists win.”

McCarthy’s election as Speaker was anticipated long before the new Congress convened this week, but a small and stubborn group in his party has withheld the votes he needs to win six consecutive times across two days. 

The group of more than a dozen holdouts includes representatives with long-term grievances, as well as newly elected freshmen who can’t even be sworn in until the Speaker is elected, as reported by the New York Times.

“It’s like playing with children,” Crenshaw said. “I mean, it’s very difficult to understand what it is they want.”

Interviewing Crenshaw between votes, Benson raised concerns that “the animosity is getting visceral and personal, which might make it even harder to get out of this quagmire.” 

Crenshaw explained that he had called the holdouts “terrorists” as a “figure of speech.”

“I’ve already been attacked by them because I’ve used harsh language, and I’m like, you started this fight,” he said. “If you don’t want to get into the Octagon and get punched in the face then don’t get into the Octagon. That’s how I feel about it.”

Crenshaw has said he intends to “hold out forever” to elect McCarthy as Speaker, claiming the California representative would have to resign for him to consider another candidate, Fox News reported

He told Benson the anti-McCarthy Republicans had “basically closed all the doors and pulled the pins on the grenades and are staring at each other like, what the hell do we do?”

“The best solution here is go with the guy that already won 85 percent of our internal vote,” Crenshaw said.