Republican tensions exploded on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press” when Representatives Dave Brat (R-VA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) had a candid discussion about the divide between moderates and Freedom Caucus conservatives in the party.
Dent is a moderate Republican who has served in the House of Representatives since 2004. Brat, a member of the Freedom Caucus, rose to prominence after defeating then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary upset that surprised political analysts in June of 2014.
Brat took exception to earlier comments by Dent about the need to form a “bipartisan coalition” to decide who will be the next Speaker of the House and the need to marginalize uncompromising Republicans who have taken the House hostage during that process.1
Eight minutes and two seconds into the discussion, the fireworks began when Brat said,
The two of them went back and forth like that for a while, with Brat eventually saying, “You said we ‘need to be punished,’ end quote.”
The two of them also sparred over Democratic Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with Brat telling Dent:
The two continued going at it, with Dent adding:
Brat got the final word in response to Chuck Todd asking if he was “okay with Kevin McCarthy staying as majority leader,” responding:
You want watch Republican versus Republican in the clip below. Beginning at the 8 minute, 2 second mark things get explosive.
FOOTNOTE 1: In an interview with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, Dent stated:
The next speaker should not appease those who make unreasonable demands. There are a number of members of our conference who simply cannot get the yes on anything for them. The perfect will always be the enemy, they’re good.
And in my view, sometime to marginalize those members, you know, who don’t want to be part of the governing majority. You know, I’ve said for some time that, you know, in order to pass anything out of the house we need to assemble a bipartisan coalition whether it’s on the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling, the omnibus and budget agreements, we will have to assemble a bipartisan coalition. That’s the reality of this place. And I don’t think that any of our leaders should make accommodations to those who are going to make unreasonable demands.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. Anything is possible right now. But it’s pretty clear to me that a number of us are not going to simply appease or accede to those who will make unreasonable demands.
And so I suspect that, in order to govern around here, we need to have a bipartisan coalition on all major bills. I mean if we can’t get 218 Republican votes for a speaker, then we’ll have to try other options. I don’t know what those options are, but I certainly don’t want to put somebody in the speaker’s job who is going to appease those who are making unreasonable demands.