When the New Year rolled around, most of us made vows that this year would be better than the last one. However, few people have better reasons to make this vow than former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
This Republican made history in all of the wrong ways when members of his own political party voted to oust McCarthy from his position. When the smoke cleared, McCarthy ended his term as speaker after only 269 days, making this the third shortest Speaker of the House tenure in all of American history.
Along the way, opponents and members of the press unearthed multiple stories of McCarthy allegedly having affairs, including an affair with a fellow politician. What’s the story behind the affairs, who was the other politician, and what has all of this done to McCarthy’s career? Keep reading to find out!
Kevin McCarthy’s recent political antics had people digging for dirt
The big irony about Kevin McCarthy’s alleged affairs is that most people had already completely forgotten about them. In fact, it’s fair to say that the majority of people had never even heard about them in the first place. He likely went into 2023 expecting nobody to go into his past and begin digging up dirt.
However, McCarthy’s decisions as Speaker of the House angered many Republican politicians, including Matt Gaetz, and what might have been a few tense backroom arguments transformed into an entire dramatic undertaking to oust and replace McCarthy. All of a sudden, McCarthy was a vulnerable target to both major political parties as well as to reporters hungry for a story, and it didn’t take everyone very long to find some juicy dirt regarding an alleged affair with another politician!
The early rumors of an ugly affair
The rumors surrounding Kevin McCarthy’s previous alleged affair were quite specific. According to the New York Post, rumors stated that McCarthy was dating fellow House member Renee Ellmers. Her job is part of what made these rumors so ugly: from the lowest summer gig all the way to Congress, we all know how dangerous it is to try to find love at your job, and the fact that this was an affair made everything worse.
Interestingly, the rumors made it sound like wasn’t some kind of overnight romance. Allegedly, the two had been dating for a very long time. So long, in fact, that former Speaker of the House John Boehner allegedly told them to stop fooling around and end the affair.
Why those rumors were swept under the rug
As these rumors of Kevin McCarthy having an affair with a fellow politician began circling around again, many people were understandably shocked. Many more had the same question you’re probably asking right now: just why the heck haven’t more media outlets and media figures spoken out about this?
Conservative thinker and columnist Matt Lewis summed the issue up when speaking to HuffPost: “I think that the new media errs sometimes in being overzealous and imprudent and the old media errs in being stodgy and not fulfilling its responsibly to viewers and readers.” Very pointedly, he went on to say “[T]he truth is that insiders and media elites all over DC are talking about these rumors — and some fairly prominent people are blogging about it.“
Yet another rumored affair
The idea that major media publications were just playing it safe when it came to news of Kevin McCarthy having an affair with a fellow House member may sound like a conspiracy theory. There never was any real smoking gun story to connect McCarthy to these allegations. As for McCarthy and Renee Ellmers, both of them went on to officially deny the allegations that they were having an affair with one another.
While the rumors Ellmers raised quite a few eyebrows, it wasn’t the only time that McCarthy was rumored to be having an affair. According to Radar Online, when the former Fox News head of booking Abby Grossberg filed a lawsuit against the network, one of the documents referenced McCarthy having an affair. Specifically, Tucker Carlson Tonight producer Justin Wells allegedly asked her if her former employer and then Fox News host Maria Bartiromo was sleeping with McCarthy.
Grossberg replied “no,” but McCarthy’s love life getting dragged into a major Fox News scandal serves as further proof that he has no real privacy since he has become such a prominent public figure.
The end of an era
Shortly after he was ousted as Speaker of the House, McCarthy remained fiery and defiant, telling those who asked that he had no plans to retire from Congress. A few months later, however, it seems the former speaker finally saw the writing on the wall.
Kevin McCarthy retired from Congress on December 21, 2023. He leaves behind a fractured legacy, but now that he’s retired from public life, he may finally have fewer people inquiring about these rumored affairs!