Report: Nunes played key role in shoring up conservative backing for McCarthy’s speakership

Devin Nunes may be out of Congress, but his bona fides in the House Republican Conference were critical to securing support for Kevin McCarthy’s Speakership.

Former Tulare Republican Devin Nunes has been out of Congress for over a year now, but a new report revealed his under-the-radar influence in helping his former neighbor and ally, Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield), elected as Speaker of the House. 

The New York Times published a report Monday detailing the strengthening ties between McCarthy and Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene. 


The backstory: McCarthy’s fight to become Speaker took four days and 15 votes as he negotiated with the far right wing of the Republican party, but he never lacked Greene’s support, in part thanks to Nunes. 

  • During Greene’s first year in office in 2021, she initially thought McCarthy was working with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–San Francisco) when Democrats removed her from the committees she was sitting on. 
  • Greene attended a party in the Dallas suburbs at the home of a GOP consultant, which Nunes also attended. Nunes told Greene he witnessed McCarthy yelling at Rep. Steny Hoyer (D–MD) for the Democrats’ decision to remove her from the committees. 

What they’re saying: Greene’s conversation with Nunes was the first time she heard from somebody she trusted that McCarthy had defended her, she told the New York Times. 

  • “That conversation had a big impact on me,” Greene said of her chat with Nunes.
  • “If you’re going to be in a fight, you want Marjorie in your foxhole,” McCarthy told the New York Times. “When she picks a fight, she’s going to fight until the fight’s over. She reminds me of my friends from high school, that we’re going to stick together all the way through.”
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