The I-word looms: McCarthy faces internal pressure to go harder at Biden on Afghanistan
As hard as Kevin McCarthy has hammered the White House over the chaotic and deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, he’s under rising pressure from his right to go further.
The House minority leader has repeatedly pushed back on rank-and-file Republicans who want to make a high-stakes call for impeaching Biden over his handling of Afghanistan — a vow that would come due should the GOP take back the chamber next November. But multiple House Republican sources said that even before Tuesday’s fraught end to the U.S. military mission, their offices were being bombarded with calls from base voters for a future Biden impeachment or another more forceful response against the administration.
“It’s a grassroots pressure — we're feeling it,” said freshman Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “I think even some of the Democrats are feeling it.”
While Republicans would have no path to impeaching Biden while still in the House minority, and any GOP-instigated impeachment trial would go nowhere unless the Senate also changed hands in the midterms, the constituent pressure could persuade more reluctant members of McCarthy’s conference to back an escalation in the party’s messaging against Biden. McCarthy, who endorsed former President Donald Trump’s call to pull troops from Afghanistan, already has promised “a day of reckoning” that includes investigations and hearings on Biden’s handling of the U.S. pullout if Republicans win the majority.
Should the House flip next year, however, McCarthy will then need near-unified support from conservatives in order to secure the speaker’s gavel. And notably, while the California Republican tries to keep his focus on getting Americans out of Afghanistan safely, most of the pro-impeachment energy is coming from his right flank.