Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the real Speaker behind the scenes even if Kevin McCarthy gets the job: Former GOP congressman

Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the real Speaker behind the scenes even if Kevin McCarthy gets the job: Former GOP congressman
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Former GOP congressman Joe Walsh said Rep. Kevin McCarthy will just be Speaker in name.
  • He said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the one in control, even if McCarthy wins the post.

Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh says Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will control Rep. Kevin McCarthy behind the scenes, should he be chosen as Speaker of the Republican-led Congress in 2023.

"Look, McCarthy will probably be Speaker, but let's be real — Marjorie Taylor Greene these next two years will be Speaker of the House," Walsh told MSNBC's Katie Phang on Sunday. "She will have McCarthy by the short hairs every single day of the week for the next two years."

"McCarthy knows that. All McCarthy wants is to become Speaker. So he has to do what Marjorie tells him to do," added the former congressman, who served in the House from January 2011 to January 2013.

Walsh called McCarthy a "hollow man" who has to pander to the GOP's far-right flank just to lead congressional Republicans. He also said Greene now has more sway over the GOP's base as compared to the party's moderates.

"The American people don't know who these House Republican moderates are. They know who Marjorie Taylor Greene is," he said. "Kevin McCarthy knows that."


Marjorie Taylor Greene is going out on a limb for Kevin McCarthy's Speakership bid

McCarthy will need to win 218 votes in the House if he is to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker next year. The GOP currently holds a razor-thin majority — 219 seats against 211 held by Democrats, with several races still uncalled.

McCarthy beat his far-right challenger Rep. Andy Biggs 188 to 31 in a secret vote last week for leadership of the Republican party. However, several members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus have opted not to back McCarthy. This includes Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who said he'd rather be waterboarded than vote for the minority leader.

However, Greene broke with her Freedom Caucus allies and voiced support for McCarthy's Speaker bid, saying it is a "bad strategy" for GOP members to challenge him. Greene last week also said she was ready for a GOP civil war and not afraid to "fight it out" with her Republican colleagues to help McCarthy secure the speakership.

McCarthy previously promised to restore Greene's committee assignments if the GOP wrests control of the lower chamber, after the House voted in February 2021 to strip her of her positions on the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee. Democratic lawmakers accused Greene of promoting fringe conspiracy theories and endorsing political violence against her congressional colleagues.

The minority leader also recently re-stated his vow to remove three prominent Democrats — Reps. Adam Schiff, Ilhan Omar, and Eric Swalwell — from their committee assignments, accusing them of being biased or compromised. In response, Schiff blasted McCarthy as a "weak leader," saying McCarthy would "do whatever Marjorie Taylor Greene wants him to do," voicing a similar sentiment to Walsh.


Representatives for Greene and McCarthy did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.