"This comes right as he moves to take over," Scarborough said of the putative next House speaker on "Morning Joe." "Well, what a rookie mistake."
Democrats and Republicans alike criticized McCarthy after he credited the House Select Committee on Benghazi with lowering Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton's poll numbers in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
"Morning Joe" panelist and Bloomberg Politics editor Jon Heilemann also speculated that McCarthy's remarks would damage him in two ways. First, Heilemann said, McCarthy cited the Benghazi committee as one of his top accomplishments as GOP leader rather than an actual act of governing. Second, he said, McCarthy deviated from Chairman Trey Gowdy's (R-SC) and other Republicans' talking points about the committee being nonpartisan and not a "witch hunt."
"It gives her [Clinton] a huge talking point, undermines Gowdy and makes, I think, a lot of people in the Republican caucus wonder whether Kevin McCarthy is in fact up to the job of being speaker of the House," Heilemann said.