July 5, 2021
In doing so, Pelosi drew fire from House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who suggested that Cheney—already ousted from party leadership for her insistence on calling out former President Donald Trump’s election lies —could face fresh retribution for agreeing to help Democrats investigate the deadliest attack on Congress in centuries, The New York Times reported.
McCarthy called Cheney’s acceptance of the position “shocking” and implied that she could lose her seat on the Armed Services Committee as payback. “I don’t know in history where someone would get their committee assignments from the speaker and then expect to get them from the conference as well,” McCarthy said.
The reaction was the latest bid by Republican leaders to turn public attention away from the assault on the Capitol and punish those who insist on scrutinizing the riot. It came as a fuller picture is emerging of how violent extremists, taking their cues from Trump, infiltrated the seat of American democracy just as Congress was meeting to validate President Biden’s election.
According to the Times, should McCarthy follow throughhis threat, it would be a striking move, since he has declined to penalize Republicans who have made anti-Semitic comments, called for the imprisoning of their Democratic colleagues, or spread false conspiracy theories about the origins of the assault on the Capitol.
It also would be the second time in two months that McCarthy Cheney for insisting that Congress should scrutinize the attack and Trump’s role in spreading the falsehoods about voting fraud that inspired it. In May, Mr. McCarthy led the charge to oust Cheney from her post as the No. 3 House Republican, saying her criticisms of Trump and efforts to sound the alarm about the riot were undermining party unity and hurting its chances of reclaiming the House in the 2022 elections.
“My oath, my duty is to the Constitution, and that will always be above politics,” Cheney told reporters in the Capitol, appearing alongside the seven Democrats Pelosi had selected for the 13-member panel.
According to its rules, McCarthy has the right to offer five recommendations for Republican members, but he declined on Thursday to say whether he would do so.
Research contact: @nytimes