Republicans plot Kevin McCarthy for speaker

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Routine security checks would be out of the question under Kevin McCarthy

Republicans are in a secret effort to achieve a majority in the House of Representatives and nominate Kevin McCarthy for speaker, the US Olympic Committee has said.

John D. Horrigan, the organisation’s chief legal counsel, said it was unaware of any evidence of McCarthy’s involvement.

“We don’t know of any allegations against Mr McCarthy but we’re hearing from many people,” he said.

McCarthy, 49, has denied involvement.

“I know nothing about these people. The Associated Press, whoever got this in their hands, put it out,” he told a Chicago news conference.

He added that his work in Washington was being “recklessly” and negatively misinterpreted.

The AP reported on Wednesday that Republicans and McCarthy’s allies “had been speaking over the past week about the possibility of raising the gavel, with GOP leaders and key committee chairs meeting privately to plot strategy”.

“During that time, they discussed an idea of making McCarthy the top House Republican,” the news agency reported.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Republican congressman David Schweikert declined to comment on the planned coup

Meanwhile, Fox News said it had contacted McCarthy’s campaign and no one had heard of the apparent plot.

“No one I know of has heard of these rumours,” the news network quoted campaign spokesman Alex Conant as saying.

It also reported that the number of delegates has been calculated and that McCarthy would need 218 votes in the 435-member House if the coup were successful.

But Frank Thorp V, a Washington Post journalist, told Reuters that the 42-member KKK (Ku Klux Klan) caucus was waiting in the wings in case the Republican National Committee, or GOP, did not nominate McCarthy in a closed-door conference room.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The KNK has strong ties to the House of Representatives majority whip

“The group had been floating a white paper – a pipe dream – of what it wanted to see under a McCarthy speaker,” he told Reuters.

Rep. David Schweikert, who is not affiliated with the white supremacy group, declined to comment on the plan and the KNK’s ties to the House majority whip, Steve Scalise, a Republican.

The KNK has strong ties to House Republicans and the race to be speaker is the most heated of the 2016-2018 Congress, according to the AP.

McCarthy, who is the presumptive next speaker, faces a challenge from the House Freedom Caucus.

The latter of the two groups, along with the so-called “Freedom Caucus” in the Senate, aims to pick a speaker from a conservative voting block while protecting their interests.

Such a meeting would be unusual, Reuters reported.

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