In his bumpy but ultimately successful bid to become House speaker, Kevin McCarthy had a strong and surprising ally on his side—hard-right firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene. But as a deep dive by Jonathan Swan and Catie Edmondson makes clear in the New York Times, their unlikely political alliance had been brewing for quite a while. The story opens with a remarkable quote from McCarthy to an unnamed friend after he won the speakership:
- "I will never leave that woman," McCarthy is quoted as saying. "I will always take care of her."
The piece recounts how Greene had been on the outs with McCarthy and other party leaders upon arriving in Congress, thanks to her previous embrace of QAnon. But slowly, they won each other's respect and trust, to the degree that they have one-on-one meetings as often as once a week. Greene "has taken on an outsize role as a policy adviser to Mr. McCarthy, who has little in the way of a fixed ideology of his own and has come to regard the Georgia congresswoman as a vital proxy for the desires and demands of the right-wing base that increasingly drives his party," per the story.
Both agreed to brief interviews for the story, in which McCarthy declares that "if you're going to be in a fight, you want Marjorie in your foxhole." Greene, for her part, says of McCarthy's agenda as speaker: "If he sticks to it, [it] will easily vindicate me and prove I moved the conference to the right during my first two years when I served in the minority with no committees." By contrast, she now has plum committee assignments in the new Congress. Read the full story, which is based on interviews with 20 people familiar with their relationship. (Read more Marjorie Taylor Greene stories.)