Watch Republican Tensions Explode On ‘Meet The Press’


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,

What everybody up here is missing are the objective economic numbers. We have a guaranteed financial crisis in law coming up in 11 years, and we’re missing the American people. Go poll the American people. you want to know my response? I follow the American people. Charlie here wants us to follow like a caucus or whatever. He wants to kick us out of our conference for voting our conscience.
Dent replied, “I don’t want to do that.”
Brat retorted, “Well, you’re on record last week saying it.”
Dent said, “I never said any such thing. That’s an outrageous thing to say.”

Brat replied, “It’s absolutely true.”

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.”

Dent said, “No. I said we should marginalize people that don’t know how to govern, who don’t want to govern. I believe that members of Congress have a responsibility to govern. And that means, you know, Hugh raised the issue of the world being on fire. Shutting down the government in the middle of this would be a terrible thing. Our men and women in uniform need us to provide some certainty and stability. He’s right. The world is on fire. So we have to get our act together. But the point is, for those who don’t want to govern, we have to establish bipartisan coalitions to pass any meaningful legislation but that’s what we’ve had to do all year.”

The two of them also sparred over Democratic Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with Brat telling Dent:

So you want Nancy Pelosi to help determine our speaker for the Republican conference.
Dent replied: “No, I want Republicans to, but you won’t support Paul Ryan.”
Brat replied: “You’re missing it, Charlie. I just said I will support if he’s for the process and for the policy that the American people want. Everything I said, you want Nancy Pelosi to be in on speaking in our– and you want to kick out conservatives out of our own conference. It’s unbelievable.”
Dent interupted: “You empowered Nancy Pelosi when you sided with her on the DHS appropriations bill. You sided with Nancy Pelosi on the Iran disapproval resolution.”

Brat continued amid interruptions: “Charlie, you’re doing a discharge position and you sided with her on trade, a Republican– That’s a sentence, good. Charlie, this week is doing a discharge petition with 40 Republicans to go with Nancy Pelosi to get the export/import bank back into play this week, going around the whole–going against the whole committee structure of the Republican Congress–that we’re trying to bring–we need good process.

The two continued going at it, with Dent adding:

Some of us, the governing wing, want to use the process to advance good legislation. Others want to use the process to obstruct legislation.

Brat got the final word in response to Chuck Todd asking if he was “okay with Kevin McCarthy staying as majority leader,” responding:

Yeah, absolutely. We have good talks with him. He came and talked with us. The whole conference is making great progress toward these reforms we’re talking about, getting back to regular order. Kevin was, “Yes, yes, yes” on that. So the talking points that we’re in this war, it’s overblown. Get to the facts.

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.


Samuel Warde
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