Posts tagged with "House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy"

One and done: Representative Madison Cawthorn loses North Carolina GOP primary

May 19, 2022

It’s one term and done for controversial Representative Madison Cawthorn. The 26-year-old right-wing firebrand was beaten by North Carolina State Senator Chuck Edwards in the May 17 Republican primary contest for the right to represent the solid-red 11th Congressional District, reports the New York Post.

Edwards topped the embattled Cawthorn by a razor-thin margin Tuesday, with 33% of the vote over Cawthorn’s 31%. Edwards, who called himself a Washington outsider, cleared the 30% threshold needed to avoid a July runoff—and Cawthorn has conceded.

According to the Post, Cawthorn had drawn the ire of his fellow Republicans over several controversial statements—including claims that lawmakers had invited him to orgies and snorted cocaine in front of him.

Cawthorn was viewed as a rising star in the GOP when he won the election in 2020 to replace then-Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, but a series of public missteps dogged his first term in office.

In March, Cawthorn called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” in charge of an “incredibly evil” government. The lawmaker was also twice arrested trying to carry a gun on an airplane and has been accused by a former aide of denying her emergency leave after her husband suffered a heart attack.

But what really outraged Cawthorn’s Capitol Hill colleagues were comments he made on a podcast in late March that likened Congress to the fictional TV series “House of Cards.”

“The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington, I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70—[you] look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life … Then all of a sudden you get invited. ‘We’re going to have a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.’

“‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy,” he said, later adding: “You watch them do a bump of cocaine right in front of you, and it’s like, ‘This is wild.’”

That earned Cawthorn a scolding from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who told reporters the North Carolinian had “lost my trust” and would “have to earn it back.”

One Republican who stuck by Cawthorn was former President Donald Trump, who issued a special appeal Tuesday on his Truth Social platform.

“When Madison was first elected to Congress, he did a great job,” the 45th president wrote. “Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again … let’s give Madison a second chance.”

Research contact: @nypost

New Hampshire governor says out loud what many Republicans think about Donald Trump

April 5, 2022

Over the weekend, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, spoke at the Gridiron dinner, an annual gathering of Washington media and political types. And he let ‘er rip on Donald Trump, reports CNN.

“He’s f—ing crazy!” Sununu saidaccording to Politico. “The press often will ask me if I think Donald Trump is crazy. And I’ll say it this way: I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out!”

Now, the Gridiron is a roast of sorts—a usually polite send-up of Washington’s political culture. So, yes, Sununu was “joking,” notes CNN. But like all good humor, there’s a kernel of truth in what he had to say.

Time after time over the last several years, when the topic of Trump comes up, influential Republicans—including some former elected officials—raise questions about what motivates the former President and, well, what exactly he is thinking when it comes to what he says and does.

Chatter about Trump’s mental state has, in fact, been an ongoing component of his time at the top of the Republican Party.

“Peril,” Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s book about the final months of the Trump presidency, is larded with questions about Trump’s mental state.

The following excerpt from the book refers to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, who was the highest ranking general in the administration, about the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol: “[He] was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies,” Woodward and Costa write.

The book also cites this from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a call to Trump on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration: “I don’t know what’s happened to you in the last two months. … You’re not the same as you were for the last four years.”

If anything, CNN notes, the intervening months have seen Trump go deeper into his election fraud fantasies—growing more and more disconnected from actual facts. Just last week, Trump urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to release negative information he may have about Hunter Biden, the son of the current president.

This is not an academic discussion. Trump is, without question, the frontrunner to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. We should all be worried about what it means for the country going forward.

Research contact: @CNN

McConnell denounces RNC censure of January 6 panel members

February 10, 2022

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) pushed back hard on February 8 against the Republican Party’s censure of Representatives Liz Cheney(R-Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois); as well as its characterization of the January 6 attack as “legitimate political discourse”—saying the riot was a “violent insurrection,” reports The New York Times.

The remarks by a statesman whom the Times describes as “normally taciturn” added to a small but forceful chorus of G.O.P. lawmakers who have decried the action that the Republican National Committee took on February 4, when it officially rebuked Cheney and Kinzinger for participating in the House investigation of the January 6 attack—accusing them of “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

McConnell repudiated that description, saying of the events of January 6, 2021: “We saw it happen. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”

He made the remarks to reporters outside Senate Republicans’ closed-door weekly lunch, where his aides had signaled in advance that he was to make an important statement on the RNC’s action.

McConnell’s comments were a rebuke of how far the party has gone to deny the reality of the violence that unfolded during the bloody assault on the Capitol, sending lawmakers from both parties running for safety. More than 150 people were injured in the attack, which led to several deaths, and nearly 750 individuals have been criminally charged in connection with it.

In the days since the Republican National Committee passed the resolution at its winter meeting in Salt Lake City, a handful of Republicans have criticized the move as everything from a political distraction to a shame on the party.

McConnell—who orchestrated the impeachment acquittal of former President Donald Trump and blocked the naming of an independent, bipartisan commission to examine the attack—was among the most blunt in his defense of the only Republicans serving on the committee that rose from that proposal’s ashes.

“Traditionally, the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party, regardless of their positions on some issues,” he said. “The issue is whether or not the RNC. should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views of the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House minority leader, by contrast, defended the resolution on Tuesday, telling a CNN reporter that it was meant to condemn the House committee’s targeting of conservatives who were nowhere near Washington on January 6 and had nothing to do with either the attack or the broader effort to overturn the 2020 election.

McCarthy, who has refused to speak with the House inquiry about his conversations with Trump during and around the January 6 attack, has been consulting with William A. Burck, a prominent Washington lawyer, about how to navigate the investigation as he braces for a possible subpoena.

According to the Times, the censure, pushed by allies of former president, was just over one page long, but it has sent Republicans into turmoil—exposing the party’s fissures while underscoring how its fealty to Trump continues to define everything it does. It has disrupted efforts by congressional Republicans to turn the page from January 6 and focus instead on what they see as the failings of President Biden and the Democratic Party in an election year.

At a news conference on Tuesday, House Republicans wanted to spend their time blaming Mr. Biden for a worsening fentanyl crisis, but virtually every question was about the party’s resolution.

“Republicans have been very clear, we condemn the violence on January 6. We also condemn the violence in 2020 as violent criminals attacked federal buildings including parts of Washington, D.C.,” said Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the House Republican Conference chairwoman—equating racial justice protests with the deadly assault on the Capitol. She added that “we believe the January 6 commission is political theater about punishing partisan opponents.”

But others were clearly appalled. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who castigated the resolution as shameful on Friday, February 4, before the party vote, told reporters on Monday that he had exchanged texts about it with the Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, who is also his niece.

“Anything that my party does that comes across as being stupid is not going to help us,” he said.

Research contact: @nytimes

McCarthy urges his caucus not to retaliate against GOP members who voted for infrastructure bill

November 17, 2021

On Tuesday, November 16,  CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) privately told his caucus not to retaliate against the 13 House Republicans who voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), better known as the bipartisan infrastructure deal, reports Raw Story.

According to Zanona, McCarthy also addressed his own inaction on the anime kill fantasy tweet against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) posted by Representative Paul Gosar (R-Arizona)—saying that he had asked Gosar to take down the video.

Nineteen Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), backed the infrastructure bill. However, McCarthy took a different view, urging his caucus to oppose it in order to tank Democrats’ two-track strategy that will also pass a broad overhaul of the social safety net known as the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376).

Despite the orders from GOP leadership, more than a dozen Republicans, including several from New York and New Jersey, backed the measure.

Some far-right rank and file Republicans, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), have pushed for the caucus to strip these 13 Republicans of their committee assignments, with Greene going so far as to post the phone numbers of the lawmakers so her supporters could bombard them with aggressive and violent messages.

Research contact: @RawStory

Nancy Pelosi names Adam Kinzinger to January 6 Committee

July 27, 2021

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) announced on Sunday morning, July 25, that she intends to name another Republican to the House select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection—saying her “plan” was to choose Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), reports The Daily Beast.

Last week, Pelosi made the unprecedented move of rejecting two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointments to the committee; claiming the inclusion of Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Indiana) was “ridiculous” —and that they “wouldn’t take the process seriously.”

Both congressmen have been vocal supporters of former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen and objected to Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory, The Daily Beast says.

McCarthy, meanwhile, pulled the other three Republicans he had recommended for the committee over Pelosi’s rejection of Jordan and Banks, leaving Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming)—whom Pelosi herself had appointed to the group—as the only Republican. Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection, was recently booted from her GOP leadership position for pushing back against Trump’s election lies.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Pelosi said her confidence was “very high” that the committee’s work would be seen as credible despite Republicans’ refusal to participate in the process.

“I believe the work of this committee, in order to retain the confidence of the American people, must act in a way that has no partisanship, is all about patriotism and I’m very proud of the members of the committee and I’m certain they will accomplish that goal,” the Speaker said, adding, “We have to, again, ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth.”

Anchor George Stephanopoulos then asked Pelosi if she intended to appoint more Republicans to the committee, specifically singling out Kinzinger, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s stolen election rhetoric.

“That’s my plan,” she replied, prompting the ABC News host to wonder aloud when she’d make that announcement.

“Perhaps after I speak to Adam Kinzinger,” she declared. “You could say that that’s the direction that I would be going on.”

Hours after Pelosi’s on-air remarks, Kinzinger’s place on the committee was made official. “He brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy,” Pelosi said of the Illinois congressman in a statement announcing his appointment.

Kinzinger, for his part, said in a statement that he “humbly accepted” the appointment and that he “will work diligently to ensure we get to the truth and hold those responsible for the attack fully accountable.”

Just like Cheney, Kinzinger voted to impeach the ex-president over his role in inciting a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election win. The Illinois congressman and Cheney also were the only House Republicans to vote for the formation of the January 6 select committee, which was formed after the GOP blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the attack.

Research contact: @TheDailyBeast

Trump knuckles under, signs stimulus package

December 29, 2020

While many Americans spent the holiday weekend worrying or grieving about sick friends and relatives, trying to get work, and eating food bank provisions, a peevish President Donald Trump partied and played golf at his private Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago.

But even Air Force One couldn’t get him far enough away from the problems he had created in the nation’s capital. Both Democratic and Republican party leaders pressured Trump to sign two bills he had left on his desk and threatened to veto—a major coronavirus stimulus package and an annual spending bill.

Trump had not participated in the talks leading up to passage of the COVID-19 aid legislation, but had indicated to his surrogate, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, that he would approve a bill that offered direct stimulus checks of $600 to the American people.

Indeed, Mnuchin promised that, once the bill passed, the $600 stimulus checks could be expected to reach Americans by this week. Meanwhile, unemployment programs established earlier this year expired on Saturday night.

But it didn’t happen. According to a report by Politico, Trump spent the weekend railing against the current package, tweeting that he wanted to “increase payments to the people, get rid of the ‘pork’” and “$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, [COVID] was China’s fault!”

Hoping go change his mind and convince him to sign off on the legislation, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and several Republican senators, including Senators David Perdue (R-Georgia) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina.), spoke to Trump multiple times through Sunday night.

Lawmakers were preparing for catastrophe amid Trump’s threats, and House members were prepared on Monday, December 28, to vote on a short-term funding bill to avert a midnight shutdown.

But on Sunday evening after days of being lobbied by allies and warned that he would decimate his own political legacy , Trump decided to sign the bill and not leave office amid a maelstrom of expired benefits and a government shutdown, Politico said.

He said he will insist on reductions in spending in parts of the bill, though Congress does not have to go along.

“I will sign the omnibus and COVID package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” Trump said on Sunday night.

The president also said the Senate would soon begin work on ending legal protections for tech companies, examining voter fraud and boosting the check size for direct payments. The current Congress ends in six days.

The House will move ahead with a vote Monday on boosting direct payments to $2,000, forcing Republicans to go on the record against the president.

“I applaud President Trump’s decision to get hundreds of billions of dollars of crucial COVID-19 relief out the door and into the hands of American families as quickly as possible,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement that did not mention the commitments Trump said the Senate has made.

Research contact: @politico