U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) has criticized his House Republican colleagues who have said that they will not vote for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) for the speaker position because of Scalise's cancer.
Raskin, according to the Washington Examiner, did so on Friday on his X account.
"I’m dumbfounded that GOP Members (& Trump!) used Steve Scalise’s cancer as a reason to abandon him on the House floor—after nominating him for the job!" Raskin wrote.
He added, "When I came down with cancer, my Caucus colleagues rallied around to support me as Ranking Dem on Oversight."
This all follows the recent ouster of U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the speakership position. A group of Republicans and House Democrats voted to remove McCarthy following the deal that he made to avert a government shutdown.
Since then, two clear favorites have emerged to succeed McCarthy: Scalise and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Scalise, initially, won his party's nomination. But, he has since withdrawn, after it was established that he does not have the support needed to actually win the speakership position.
This is because House Republicans refused to united behind him. And, one of the reasons why House Republicans did not unite behind Scalise is because he is currently dealing with cancer. Many Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have stated their concern that Scalise might not be able to withstand the rigors of the speakership position.
This is what Raskin is talking about in his above message.
Here, we will leave to the side any potential ulterior motives. What unites this unlike pair is the fact that both men have been dealing with cancer.
Last year, Raskin announced that he had been diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma. In the intervening months, he has undergone treatment. And, in April, he announced that his cancer was in remission.
Scalise, on the other hand, has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of rare blood cancer. It is believed that, like Raskin's cancer, Scalise's cancer is also treatable. But, unlike Raskin, Scalise's cancer is not in remission.
So, this explains why it is that Raskin would come to Scalise's defense. And, maybe Raskin has a point here, particularly regarding Republicans' unwillingness to unite behind one of their own, which is very different from the way that the Democrats handle things.
House Republicans are going to have to come together if they do not want to end up with a speaker who is worse than McCarthy. They have the votes to elect the speaker of their choice. But, at the time of this writing, House Republicans are still divided amongst themselves.