Threatening rebellion, Congressional conservatives are even thinking of bringing back Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House.
How upset are Congressional conservatives with Paul Ryan? So much so that they are thinking of turning to Rick Santorum! Or Newt Gingrich! These are long shots, of course. And I’m not sure that there are enough conservatives in the House to pull it off. But the discontent with Ryan seems to be growing with public failures like Obamacare.
The Washington Post reports, “Gingrich or Santorum as speaker? House conservatives plot mischief for the fall.”
The group has gone so far as to float the idea of recruiting former House speaker Newt Gingrich or former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum as potential replacements for Ryan (R-Wis.) should there be a rebellion. The Constitution does not require that an elected member of the House serve as speaker.
While the chances that a non-House member could mount a credible threat to Ryan are exceedingly slim, the fact that the group has even toyed with the idea underscores their desire to create trouble for GOP leaders if they believe their demands are not being addressed.
The closed-door conversations are being led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, in consultation with his allies on the right, in particular Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist who recently returned to his perch as executive chairman of the Breitbart News website. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other Freedom Caucus members are also involved in the talks to varying degrees, according to nearly a dozen people with knowledge of the discussions.
On Wednesday, Meadows, Jordan and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) took their concerns directly to Ryan, telling him in a private meeting in the Capitol that his failure to enact conservative priorities could diminish his support among conservatives.
Even so, the group of more than 30 conservative House lawmakers is unlikely to stage a successful coup to push out Ryan and has so far shown unease about translating their grievances into action. But the mere fact that they are discussing the prospect — and strategizing with Bannon — underscores both their desire and ability to disrupt an already daunting legislative schedule.
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