Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw doubled down on likening conservative opponents of Kevin McCarthy to terrorists, saying that people uncomfortable with the comparison need to “lighten up.”
Twenty Republicans have opposed McCarthy’s speakership on four consecutive votes, forcing the Speaker race to go beyond six ballots for the ninth time ever. Crenshaw, a vocal McCarthy supporter, compared the 20 “no” voters to terrorists during a Wednesday appearance on the “Guy Benson Show.” He defended the comments to reporters shortly after.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw on the 20 Republicans who oppose McCarthy:
“We cannot let the terrorists win.” pic.twitter.com/toZlSdikpk
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 4, 2023
“It’s a figure of speech. People need to lighten up and grow some fucking thick skin. That’s what I think about that. I am so sick of like these hurt feelings. I already got criticized earlier because I called them something else. You know what? You step into the octagon, be ready to get punched in the face,” Crenshaw told reporters.
Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon similarly compared McCarthy opponents to the Taliban on Tuesday.
Crenshaw has long been critical of the GOP’s right flank. He appeared to suggest that members of the Freedom Caucus were “grifters” in December 2021. Crenshaw later claimed that he was not talking about the group in general, but about “a general group of people that exists on our side.”
Before the speaker votes, Crenshaw asserted that McCarthy’s opponents are seeking “notoriety over principle,” calling them “narcissists” and “enemies.” (RELATED: GOP Rep. Scott Perry Slams Crenshaw, Bacon For ‘Over The Top’ And ‘Outrageous’ Attacks On Fellow Republicans)
No speaker candidate managed to ascend to the gavel on the first ballot for the first time since 1923, and for the fifteenth time ever. Nineteen Republicans opposed McCarthy on the first two ballots, and their ranks swelled to 20 on the third and subsequent votes. One more Republican, Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz, began voting “present” on the fourth ballot.