This GOP Lawmaker Warned Speaker Candidates with 'Secrets' to Withdraw
In a stunning turn of events earlier today, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) dropped out of the race for House Speaker.
His decision came just hours before an election he was expected to win. The vote was quickly postponed.
McCarthy told GOP colleagues that he felt it was "not his time" and that he's not the right person to lead right now.
Just one day ago, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) sent a letter to fourth-ranking Republican House member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, calling Speaker candidates to withdraw if they had any embarrassing secrets that might become public.
"With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I am asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference and the House of Representatives if they become public," he wrote.
Shepard Smith asked Jones this afternoon if there is any connection between the letter and McCarthy's sudden exit.
Jones said he wasn't referring to McCarthy specifically, adding that he does not want to see the party embarrassed by a scandal, using Newt Gingrich as an example.
Shep told Jones the letter did not sound "random."
"What did you know?" he asked. "Who writes such a thing in a vacuum? Who fishes in such a way?"
Jones answered that he is a "man of integrity," and that his warning was simply general to all prospective Speaker candidates.
"Anything you want to read into it, you're welcome to read into it," said Jones.
He said, if he is re-elected and the GOP maintains a majority, he wants to write it into the House rules that any Republican running for leadership must "come clean."
Jones said Speaker Boehner should have allowed a vote today on the other two candidates, Jason Chaffetz and Daniel Webster.
Watch the interview above.