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Chip Roy issues fiery response after Gingrich calls anti-McCarthy bloc ‘blackmailers’

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, pushed back on former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich Wednesday after Gingrich called Roy and 19 other House Republicans ‘blackmailers’ for opposing Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for speaker. 

During an interview on WMAL radio’s ‘O’Connor & Company,’ Roy said Gingrich, who served as House speaker from 1995 to 1999, ‘doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.’  

‘If Newt Gingrich wants to pick up the phone and call me, then he might actually know the facts. You might have been speaker 25 years ago, but you don’t know the facts right now and you’re parroting the talking points that are being shoved through the system in this town, that are being fed by the big spending machine that has been driving this country into the ditch,’ he said.

‘I don’t have any time for listening to fossils, sitting on Fox News, making their money on their contracts, coming out and talking about things they don’t know anything about,’ Roy added. 

After six votes in two days, there is no Speaker of the House. McCarthy has so far been unable to sway the 20 Republicans opposing his candidacy, who say he is not trustworthy and are demanding concrete promises on rules changes that would decentralize power in the House. Roy nominated Rep.-elect Byron Donalds of Florida for speaker Wednesday, but the most votes Donalds received was 20, compared to 203 for McCarthy. The entire Democratic conference supported Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. 

Earlier Wednesday, Gingrich appeared on ‘Fox & Friends’ and condemned the Republicans who have so far refused to vote with the majority of the GOP conference and elect McCarthy as speaker.

‘They’re not really blackmailing McCarthy. They’re blackmailing the conference. On the votes yesterday, they were losing 202 to 20. And in a healthy, free society, you’d figure a 202 to 20 votes tells you something,’ Gringrich said. 

He further accused the holdouts of ‘blackmailing the country,’ questioned their endgame, and said their refusal to back McCarthy was ‘the equivalent of a temper tantrum.’ 

Newt Gingrich rips Republican holdouts as Video

Roy dismissed these charges, insisting that institutional change is necessary to protect the American people from ‘the Swamp.’ 

‘[We’re] trying to make sure we stand up to fight for them and to represent our constituents against a swamp that is basically rolling over [on] $1.7 trillion omnibus bills. They get no real representation. We can’t offer amendments on the floor. We can’t actually have participation in the process because things are cooked up in secret committees – in the Rules Committee, as they call it…’ Roy told ‘Special Report’ Wednesday.

He has demanded that McCarthy permit at least four members of the House Freedom Caucus to sit on the Rules Committee, where they would have the power to block legislation the hardliners disapprove of. He also wants an open amendment process, which he says would let rank-and-file members propose changes to major pieces of legislation on the House floor, rather than having the Rules Committee suspend regular order to pass trillion-dollar spending bills with no opportunity for amendment. 

McCarthy and his lieutenants are considering these demands, but so far no deal has been reached that would allow him to become speaker. 

The House adjourned Wednesday after McCarthy failed to secure the 218 votes required to become speaker for the sixth time in a row. 

GOP members will be meeting throughout Thursday morning, and the seventh vote won’t be made until noon ET.

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.

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