Soon to be ex-House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor was heavy on smiles and light on substance during an interview on CNN Sunday morning, failing to explain why he believes he suffered Tuesday’s historic loss and refusing to throw any Republican colleagues under the bus over his defeat.
Cantor spoke with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” Sunday, five days after tea party challenger Dave Brat unexpectedly sent the powerful Virginia congressman packing. Conventional wisdom has it that Cantor lost touch with his constituents’ priorities, particularly on immigration.
But Cantor wouldn’t speculate on what led to his defeat. “You know, Dana, I think the obvious is I came up short in number of votes,” he said. “I really don’t think that there is any one reason for the outcome of the election. There are just a lot of things that go through voters’ minds in the voting booth.”
The congressman did explain his principles on immigration, noting he’s against blanket amnesty but does feel legal status should be granted to illegal children living in the United States. “Now I know that that can make a lot of people mad on both sides,” he admitted, “but I do think that it is the only plausible way forward in terms of immigration reform.”
But Cantor wouldn’t speculate on what his loss means for ongoing tug-of-war between the establishment and tea party wings of the Republican Party. “Again, going back is not what I want to do,” he said with a smile. “I want to go forward.”
“I am determined to continue on the mission that our party needs to be one of inclusion, not exclusion,” he added when pressed. “There are so many more things that bind us together than pull us apart.”
And will the ex-Majority Leader be voting for his victorious rival Dave Brat in November? “Listen, I want a Republican to hold this seat,” he laughed. “Of course.”