Republicans Bash Republicans

Elections & Politics Policy Brief #111 | By: William Bourque | November 30, 2023
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With the GOP in seemingly everlasting disarray, Speaker Mike Johnson has somehow already managed to land himself in a cauldron of hot water. News has recently come out about Johnson’s financial situation, or lack thereof.  It has been reported that Johnson does not have a personal bank account or savings, which many Americans find incredibly strange. He hasn’t reported any investments or large savings bonds either, which makes many wonder about where he gets money to send his children to college or save for retirement.

For the rest of the GOP, it seems that Congress has become the perfect place to stage a Royal Rumble, with several high-profile dustups amongst their ranks. For starters, Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy can’t seem to keep his hands to himself, allegedly elbowing Congressman Tim Burchett in the back.  Burchett has been a McCarthy detractor for some time and was one of the 8 Republican members who voted to remove McCarthy. The entire incident occurred in a tunnel beneath the Capitol, with several reporters and aides witnessing the exchange. GOP sources say that both Burchett and McCarthy have shown lots of frustration with each other in Conference meetings, sometimes coming to the point of screaming matches.

The other coming together was between Senator Markwayne Mullin and Teamsters President Sean O’ Brien during a HELP committee meeting. An ongoing Twitter (X) beef spilled into reality and the two of them almost duked it out on the committee floor. The beef is derived from several tweets from O’Brien which made fun of Mullin’s height—he was caught standing on a stepstool during a debate to appear taller. Senator Bernie Sanders acted as the adult in the room, admonishing Mullin for his un-senatorial behavior.

Back on the House side of things, Representative George Santos is facing a slate of indictments related to fraud that he engaged in during his campaign. The House recently voted to expel Santos, but the measure was voted down after a handful of Democrats stood by the rule of law, arguing that Santos deserved due process. Notably, they also said that if convicted that they would vote to expel, but not until the courts had been able to determine fact from fiction. Since then, the House Ethics Committee has published a shocking report detailing the hundreds of violations Santos has committed. Many members who said they would wait for rule of law have now said Santos should resign or be expelled.

The GOP can’t seem to keep members in line or maintain a united front on anything, which makes it hard to imagine they have any chance of keeping the House or flipping the Senate. As always, we expect the presidency to be close…even if Trump runs from behind bars. Watch this space to see how Speaker Johnson struggles through more spending fights in the new year—and maybe has to referee a few brawls in conference meetings.

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