House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on bull riding, and more

Written by CNN Staff Writer

Who says he does not like taking questions?

All those who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, probably. As his job means that a fair number of them land on a given day, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he reads them like traffic signs.

His counterpart in the House, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy , eats a little differently. His look on the House floor, now and then, might suggest that he’s simply enjoy driving nonstop for 80 minutes.

CNN: Have you ever stuck around the House floor for more than two hours straight?

McCarthy: Not since I was doing nine years in the Army for eight months. But I’ve been in Texas for 14, 14 months and will continue to be in Texas. And the House is just like any other chamber.

CNN: As the longest-serving House Majority Leader, what’s the trick?

McCarthy: I’ve run the floor in sort of a suite, so people have to get up and come in and out. But after a while, you realize that it’s not a hotel floor. There’s things you can do, but if you do them every day — too much of it – then you do that all the time and it’s better not to. And if you want to go to the restroom, go to the restroom.

CNN: There’s a documentary coming out about you, “The Longest Ride.” It tells the true story of a young bull rider who was bitten by a shark. What was it like riding the bull?

McCarthy: You never would have known it was a bull. It was a nice bull. I saw this young buller (on the set) and said, “Oh, he’s a cute young buller.” The guy said, “No, he’s not a cute young buller.” (Laughs) I got into the truck and he said, “Yeah, but I’m not a cute young buller.”

Inherent in the story is, it’s about a bull rider who was attached to a tugboat in Charleston, South Carolina. And the tugboat capsized, and the young buller survived, but a bunch of his buddies did not. And the young buller, having lost so many of his friends, learned to ride bulls and finish school. And then he meets the woman who was his girlfriend and falls in love and they get married. And, one thing leads to another. And you know what? The story is truly amazing.

So, working on it and learning about what it was like in Charleston, South Carolina, was just exciting to me.

CNN: What’s the biggest thing you learned from that?

McCarthy: By the way, the term “new bull rider” is a very old term.

When I was in the Army, I was attached to all these tugboats and things, and I learned the concept.

CNN: How do you like not having to worry about being challenged when you just sit back in your chair?

McCarthy: As an American, I love my freedom. I love being able to get out and do what I do without any hassle. I always say I don’t like driving highways with 75 miles per hour on them. I don’t like that. I don’t like back alleys, I don’t like crossing a river. I don’t like to be in any kind of traffic jam.

I like riding bulls. If you try to herd us into that, you’re not going to get us. So, there are certain things that you have to get out of my way. And I got very fortunate to be able to get to riding bulls.

CNN: Why do you love riding bulls?

McCarthy: Because I love riding. I’ve gotten to ride them since I was seven years old. And I have a lot of friends, family and family friends who’ve ridden bulls, and some of them have been extremely successful. And we’re a family of people who just love riding bulls. And it’s not so much the “go fast” that I like, but the emotional aspect of it.

I don’t want to hurt these guys. That’s what I really appreciate. I just want to let them ride. It’s really exciting.

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