Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy were forced to play defense Tuesday - again - over a nagging report that the majority leader is working behind the scenes to remove Ryan as Republican leader ahead of the midterms.
In a story titled "McCarthy Denials About Replacing Ryan Don't Hold up," The Weekly Standard website Tuesday wrote that "we stand by our reporting" that McCarthy, R-Calif., the unofficial heir to the speakership, is trying to maneuver Ryan out early.
"I read that report. That report is not true," McCarthy said Tuesday, standing alongside Ryan. "I think you’re building something in that’s not out there. But I understand the job you have to do. I just think if you look at what we’re doing this week … it’s a clear example that none of that is true.”
That comes a day after McCarthy attempted to shoot down the first Weekly Standard report that he's been talking with budget director Mick Mulvaney about such a move, something the OMB chief stoked in public comments.
"Not on any planet," McCarthy said Monday.
Ryan, who was supposed to leave D.C. on Tuesday for his son's graduation, instead joined McCarthy in his attempt to tamp it down, a week after an embarrassing defeat in the House of the farm bill and an insurrection by moderate Republicans who tried to force a vote on immigration.
"Obviously I serve at the pleasure of the members. Those are the people who drafted me in this job in the first place,” Ryan told reporters. "But I think we all agree, the best thing for us is to complete our agenda and not wedge into the middle of the completion of our agenda divisive leadership elections."
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