The contentious battle over who would become the new Republican Speaker of the House came to a dramatic conclusion after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected to the position on a historic 15th ballot cast early Saturday.
Events leading up to McCarthy’s eventual win proved chaotic, with emotions running high for numerous Republicans involved with the process.
One GOP official who arguably acted in an animated manner during the process was Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who drew massive heat from some conservatives after he referred to those refusing to support McCarthy’s bid as “terrorists.”
Crenshaw made the comments during a radio interview in which he said, “we cannot let the terrorists win,” in reference to the 20 holdouts. The remarks drew criticism from fellow Texan, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, among others.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto confronted Crenshaw, asking him about the incendiary remarks:
“Ted Cruz, I mean he’s called American citizens terrorists multiple times so you know if he really wants to play that game,” Crenshaw said.
“Look, I do not think these people are terrorists and to the extent that my colleagues took offense to that I’ve gone up to them and said, ‘of course, I didn’t mean it that way.’ We were speaking in terms of a very difficult negotiation where sometimes you use a turn of phrase about not giving in to terrorists,” said Crenshaw as he tried to extract himself from a mess of his own making.
Crenshaw clarified that he did not have issues with all of the Republicans who repeatedly refused to vote for McCarthy, saying that he believed Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Chip Roy (R-TX) were acting in “good faith,” but he took issue with the length and time, and a number of ballots that were consequently cast.
“The only thing I disagree with them on is how long it could have taken to get to this point,” said Crenshaw. “These rules package that we’ve agreed on, these processes that we’ve agreed on, these are very agreeable things. They will make it more difficult, but that’s what we want.”
The Texas representative appeared to be less willing to clarify his position several days prior when he responded to Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s criticisms of his remarks.
“Unclutch your pearls. It’s a figure of speech. You can’t insult, slander, and hold everyone hostage with no way out – and not expect me to punch back,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “Grow thicker skin.”
Unclutch your pearls. It’s a figure of speech. You can’t insult, slander, and hold everyone hostage with no way out – and not expect me to punch back.
Grow thicker skin. https://t.co/gmwDmfCney
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 5, 2023