Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, on Friday morning said that he could “potentially” be a candidate for the speaker slot and criticized his successor on the Oversight Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who is also running for speaker.
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarbrough asked Issa whether he would be a good candidate for speaker who could unite the Republican party.
“I could be potentially a candidate,” Issa responded. “But at the same time, I agree with the vast majority of members, I think, that we need a Paul Ryan or somebody who is A. experienced, B. has been a committee chairman or something other than just up through the leadership ranks.”
According to reports in the Independent Journal Review and The Hill, Issa is mulling a bid for speaker. Many House Republicans are calling on Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to run for speaker, but he has repeatedly said he will not run for the top leadership spot.
Issa was then asked about Chaffetz’s bid for speaker. When the congressman from Utah took over Issa’s role leading the Oversight Committee, he removed Issa’s portrait from the committee room, which reportedly upset Issa’s staffers.
“Jason’s a good man, an honorable man but he got his job by going to Boehner and saying he would shut down that rancor that was going on, he would go along, get along, and he’s done that. He put shining pictures of Utah on the wall and he basically stopped doing it. There hasn’t been a single committee report or staff report published since he’s been chairman,” Issa said in response.
“The fact is, he’s a good guy, but whatever he was as a freshman, when he was a fighter on our committee, when he was trying to hold government accountable, he took a break from that,” he continued. “And I think that’s going to hurt him, not whether I get in the race or not. It already hurt him. He didn’t have 30 votes going into the race. I don’t think he’s going to get the 240.”
Issa then suggested that it’s inappropriate to run for speaker without significant support from the Republican conference.
“But let’s understand something: I would not have the hubris to determine whether I’m the 240 candidate or Paul Ryan,” he said. “This is something where the conference has to dig deep. They have to ask the question of, ‘Who can we unite behind?’ This is a job you can’t run for. You can make yourself available for it, but the conference really has to look hard, not for who’s got the most whip’s calling, but who really can make a difference beyond 218.”
Watch Issa’s interview on “Morning Joe” via MSNBC: