Posts tagged with "House Speaker Kevin McCarthy"

McCarthy tells Trump supporters not to protest if ex-president is indicted

March 21, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said this week that supporters of Donald Trump should not protest if the former president is indicted—following Trump’s call for people to take to the streets and rally against what he claimed would be his imminent arrest in a Manhattan investigation, reports The Washington Post.

In an all-caps message on his social media platform, Trump called on followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!

“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy said during a news conference on Sunday, March 19. “And I think President Trump, if you talk to him, he doesn’t believe that, either.”

Posting on his Truth Social platform on Saturday, Trump wrote that he “WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY” and called on people to “PROTEST.” Despite the post from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his advisers said Trump’s team did not have specific knowledge about the timing of any indictment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) is investigating Trump’s role in hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

The case centers on a $130,000 payment from Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney, to Daniels—and Bragg is probing whether Trump broke campaign finance laws to reimburse Cohen for keeping Daniels quiet about allegations that she and Trump had an affair. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and has described the payments as extortion.

Trump’s demand that people take to the streets to denounce a possible indictment stoked fears of violence and echoed rhetoric he used while addressing supporters shortly before a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Five people died in the attack or in its aftermath, and 140 police officers were injured in the assault.

“Nobody should harm one another,” McCarthy said Sunday, following Trump’s call for protests. “We want calmness out there.”

While McCarthy appealed for peace, he also slammed the investigation into Trump and accused Bragg of unfairly targeting the former president. “Lawyer after lawyer will tell you this is the weakest case out there, trying to make a misdemeanor a felony,” McCarthy said during the news conference.

Lawyers and advisers to Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, have expected for days that he will be indicted in the case.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

McCarthy rejects Zelensky’s invitation to Ukraine

March 9, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to visit the embattled nation amid his hesitancy to greenlight aid—a request the California Republican quickly shut down this week, reports Politico.

“He has to come here to see how we work, what’s happening here, what war caused us, which people are fighting now, who are fighting now. And then after that, make your assumptions,” Zelensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview.

When informed about the Ukrainian invitation, the Speaker told CNN that he would not take the trip and blamed the Biden Administration for not acting quickly enough to aid Ukraine. Still, McCarthy held his position that the United States should not be sending a “blank check” to Kyiv, repeating a position he initially made last fall that sparked uproar from members of both parties.

“Let’s be very clear about what I said: no blank checks, OK? So, from that perspective, I don’t have to go to Ukraine to understand where there’s a blank check or not,” McCarthy told CNN. “I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it. And my point has always been, I won’t provide a blank check for anything.”

McCarthy’s remarks addressed Zelensky’s comments in the interview about Democrats and Republicans who have visited and seen “the supply routes, every shell, every bullet, every dollar.”

“I think that Speaker McCarthy, he never visited Kyiv or Ukraine, and I think it would help him with his position,” Zelensky said.

On February 20, President Joe Biden made a surprise visit o Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, his first since the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Research contact: @politico

Santos temporarily steps aside from House committees amid calls to resign

February 1, 2023

Representative George Santos, the embattled first-term Republican from New York, told his colleagues on Tuesday morning, January 31, that he would temporarily recuse himself from sitting on his congressional committees—the first crack in his defiant stance as he faces multiple investigations and calls from members of his party to resign, reports The New York Times.

Santos, who, since being elected in November has admitted to fabricating parts of his résumé and is under scrutiny for what appears to have been a yearslong pattern of deception, was named this month to serve on the committees on small business and on science, space, and technology.

His decision to step down from his committees came after he met privately with Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday night.  McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that Santos had brought up the idea and that it was an “appropriate decision” for now, “until he could clear everything up.”

“He just felt like there was so much drama, really, over the situation,” Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, explained after a G.O.P. conference meeting, calling the decision “pretty bold.”

Greene noted that the move was not permanent and said it was made in part because House Republican leaders are trying to remove Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, from the Foreign Affairs Committee, although it is not clear they have the votes to do so.

McCarthy has said he wants to remove Omar from the committee because of past comments she made about Israel that Republicans and Democrats criticized as employing antisemitic tropes. But a number of Republicans have said they disagree with the decision, the Times reports.

Some Republicans regarded  Santos’s decision to recuse himself as problematic because it could be seen as an admission of guilt and might raise more questions about how he could effectively represent his constituents while facing multiple investigations and a deep lack of trust from his own party.

House Republican leaders, who hold a slim, four-seat majority, have not called on  Santos to resign, even as he has faced pressure to do so from New York Republicans.  McCarthy has said that the decision should be left up to voters.

“George has voluntarily removed himself from committees as he goes through this process, but ultimately, voters decide,” Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, said on Tuesday.

poll by Newsday and Siena College on Tuesday found that voters in  Santos’s district overwhelmingly thought he should step down. About 78% of those surveyed said they believed that Santos should resign, including 71% of Republicans.

Of those who voted for  Santos in November, 63% said they would not have done so had they known more about the falsehoods he told about his background and the questions surrounding his campaign finances.

The decision to step down from committee assignments was also contrary to how  Santos has been conducting himself. After weeks of dodging the hordes of cameras and reporters who follow his every move in the Capitol, he has taken on a more combative approach in which he appears to be relishing his notoriety.

He has more forcefully pushed back on allegations against him, including that he stole thousands of dollars from a GoFundMe account that was intended to pay for lifesaving surgery for a disabled veteran’s service dog, which died after it failed to receive the operation.

Channeling former President Donald Trump’s old Twitter persona,  Santos has savaged comedians who have mocked him and positioned himself as a fighter under siege by the liberal news media.

“From interviewing clowns, to creating fake ‘posts’ the media continues to down spiral as their attempt to smear me fails,” he tweeted last week. “I am getting the job I signed up for done, while you all spiral out of control.”

Research contact: @nytimes