Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are attempting to convince House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to back an effort to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), which McCarthy rejected.
He told Fox News on Wednesday night that he won't pursue the long-shot move against Pelosi. The Freedom Caucus has only 40 of the House's 435 seats.
"What I'm in favor of is defeating Nancy Pelosi and [Jerry] Nadler and all the others" through elections, McCarthy said, referring to longtime Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Judiciary panel.
The House Freedom Caucus previously mounted an effort to remove former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, which was unsuccessful.
"I don't think it's the best move at this moment," McCarthy added in the interview. "I think the best move is win 218 seats and that defeats Nancy Pelosi."
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), however, said that Republican House leadership should promote the effort.
Earlier this month, Biggs wrote an opinion article making the case for removing Pelosi as speaker.
"Do you know that there are fewer Democrats in the House since Nancy Pelosi held the gavel? At that moment, we needed 19 seats to win the majority, today we only need 17," McCarthy added. "We won every special election we played in and that was in Democrat seats that Democrats won by more than 9 points and it happened to be in California."