McCarthy calls Jeffries a ‘thermometer’ amid debate over Biden

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday criticized House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) for his approach to the growing number of Democrats calling for President Biden to step aside as the party’s presumptive nominee for president.

McCarthy, in an interview on Fox News’s “Outnumbered,” compared Jeffries to a “thermometer,” which reads the temperature, rather than a “thermostat,” which sets it.

“Hakeem hates to make a decision. He’ll never make a fast decision. He’s doing exactly what he normally does: nothing,” McCarthy told Fox News’s Kayleigh McEnany, when asked what he predicts the top Democrat in the House will do at this moment.

“There’s two types of leaders: You’re either a thermometer or thermostat,” McCarthy continued. “A thermostat can tell you the temperature and change it. Hakeem’s a thermometer. He sits and lets the caucus decide where to go, and that’s why you’re seeing it, in the House, a lot of members come out against Biden, and in the Senate, you really don’t have much.”

“Not strong leadership, and he’ll let the caucus get in front of him instead of stepping in front,” McCarthy added.

McCarthy enjoyed what was described by some as a positive working relationship with Jeffries last year, when they were the top Republican and top Democrat, respectively, in the House. Jeffries, however, did not save McCarthy from a GOP-led coup, which ultimately led to McCarthy’s ouster.

Several months later, Jeffries made a different decision, when Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) faced a similar ouster threat for defying extreme members of his party to work with Democrats to pass Ukraine aid.

The Hill has reached out to Jeffries’s office for a response.

Jeffries faces a difficult decision as he weighs whether to stick with the White House in a show of Democratic unity or to consider some of the electability concerns members of his caucus have expressed since President Biden’s difficult debate performance.

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison fired back at McCarthy for his attack on Jeffries.

“Leader Jeffries has forgotten more about leadership than @SpeakerMcCarthy has ever known. McCarthy is literally the worst speaker of all time – it took this pathetic guy 15 tries to win the gavel and 9 months to lose it,” Harrison said.

“In McCarthy’s only meaningful vote of his speakership, the debt ceiling vote, it was @RepJeffries and the House Dems that delivered the votes and saved his ass,” he said, referring to the deal McCarthy negotiated with the Biden administration on government spending and lifting the debt ceiling.

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