Any member of the House Republican Conference can "take whatever position they believe in," even its chairperson, embattled Rep. Liz Cheney, but at the end of the day, the conference leadership spot must be able to lead party members in their fight against Democrats and President Joe Biden's agenda, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Sunday.
"We are in one of our biggest battles ever for this nation and the direction about whether this century will be ours," the California Republican told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo." "We need a conference that's united and that's why we need a conference chair that's delivering the message day in and day out and uniting the nation to make sure we are on the right footing going forward."
McCarthy didn't answer directly a question from Bartiromo whether there are enough votes coming in a ballot later this week to formally oust Cheney, R-Wyo., from her party's No. 3 spot in the House, but pointed out that everyone in the party's leadership roles in the house "serves at the pleasure of the conference."
"As you know, there's a lot at stake," said McCarthy, who also confirmed Sunday that he backs Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., to replace Cheney as chairperson. "Democrats are destroying the nation. We've watched the greatest expansion of government and the socialist liberal agenda. We watched them destroy our borders where hundreds of thousands are coming across not being tested for COVID. We are catching people on the terrorist watch list. You have the destruction of our energy. You've got the largest missed jobs report in more than two decades."
To defeat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the "socialist agenda," Republicans "need to be united, and that starts with leadership," said McCarthy. "That's why we will have a vote and we want to be united and looking at moving forward. I think that's what will take place."
He also denied that the upcoming vote is over Cheney's anti-Trump stance, including her voting to impeach him and her denunciation over his continued insistence that the 2020 election was unfair.
"At conference, you have the most critical jobs of the messenger going forward," said McCarthy. "Are we talking about what Democrats are doing on the border? Are we talking about all of the missed jobs on the report and building an economy where we are watching Joe Biden create inflation that we've never seen before, or a takeover of government, the raising of taxes, the damage of what will be done that we cannot come back from. That's why we need a conference that's united and that's why we need a conference chair that's delivering the message day in and day out and uniting the nation to make sure we are on the right footing going forward."
McCarthy Sunday also spoke about the results of the 2020 Census, which has come under fire from some Republicans over the potential of gained or lost congressional seats.
"Actually, red states gained," said McCarthy. "They should have gained more and blue states (should have) lost. Look at California. For the first time in history, the state is going to lose a seat. They actually lost population and the answer Gov. Gavin Newsom gives is that it's because President Trump secured the border and fewer people could illegally enter the state."
Meanwhile, blue states like California, Illinois, and New York all lost seats, but Texas gained 2 and Florida gained 1, said McCarthy.
"People crave freedom, and freedom to take a risk, and freedom for children to go to school," he said. "The Cook Report recently did a study about redistricting and they believe Republicans can gain anywhere from 0 to maybe even 5 to 7 seats. We need 5 seats to gain the majority. People are moving based on the policies of the states, and proves that policy of greater freedom is working out."
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