A group of House conservatives is privately plotting a leadership challenge against House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Washington Post reports. The group is led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
During these closed-door conversations, Meadows and other members of the House Freedom Caucus have floated potential replacements for Ryan, such as former House speaker Newt Gingrich (explained later) or former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
When asked to comment, Gingrich laughed at the possibility of coming back as a speaker, stating, “It would be a joke to have anyone not serving in the House or who’s familiar with the members to lead the body. That’s antithetical to what it means to be speaker and I know what it takes to be speaker.”
According to the Constitution, the speaker does not need to be an elected member of Congress. When Santorum was asked to comment, he simply said, “To be honest with you, I don’t really know anything about it. I don’t really have any comment.”
However, people who are familiar with these closed-door meetings say that the more preferred options for replacements are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Meadows, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) had a private meeting with Ryan to warn him about that his failure to pass conservative legislation could hurt his support among conservatives.
They’ve also been in contact with former chief strategist Steve Bannon and Matthew Boyle, Breitbart’s Washington editor, “for weeks” to “mount credible threat” against Ryan at a Capitol Hill townhouse also known as the “Breitbart Embassy.”
Rep. David Brat (R-VA) revealed that many House conservatives are unhappy with Republican leadership recently, stating “The big picture is that we’ve failed on Obamacare, we didn’t do what we said we’d do. What’s it going to look like on tax? What about the debt ceiling? No one is really sure. We said we’d do all of these different things and we have to follow through.”
House Republicans who are frustrated with leadership are thinking of different options of what to do if Ryan were to be pressured to resign. Some of the options include demanding a more conservative voice for a leadership position and bringing in an outside political figure.