Canvassing for support on Capitol Hill to replace departing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the 118th Congress, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday doubled down on an earlier promise to — should his speakership bid succeed — kick several House Democrats from their committee posts as his first order of business.
McCarthy appeared to relish this descent into political theater as he served further notice on Fox News Sunday Morning Futures, telling host Mario Bartiromo that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) would get the boot.
“Eric Swalwell cannot get a security clearance in the public sector. Why would we ever give him a security clearance in the secrets to America? So I will not allow him to be on Intel,” McCarthy told Bartiromo, referring to allegations that the California Democrat, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, had personal ties to a Chinese spy.
According to Axios, the first to break that story, U.S. intelligence officials didn’t think Swalwell, who severed ties with the alleged spy and fully cooperated with investigations, divulged any classified information, and the California Democrat was not accused of wrongdoing even under the Trump administration.
Of Schiff, McCarthy said the Democrat — a key player in the 2019 and 2021 impeachments of former President Trump and member of the House Select Committee probing the January 6, 2021 insurrection — “had lied to the American public time and again.”
“We will not allow him to be on the Intel Committee either,” McCarthy said.
The minority leader vowed the same fate would befall Omar, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose public pro-Palestine stance McCarthy labeled “anti-semitism.”
“And, you, look, Congresswoman Omar, her anti-Semitic comments that have gone forward. We’re not going to allow her to be on Foreign Affairs,” he told Bartiromo.
McCarthy went after the congresswoman at a donor confab, the Republican Jewish Coalition convention, saying — to the cheers of the conservative crowd — that he planned to “keep that promise” he made about Omar for “what she said about me” and “what she said about Israel.”
The talk of ousting House Democrats from their committee assignments began circulating within Republican circles after the House removed Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from their committees in a sweeping bipartisan vote last year for incendiary, conspiratorial, and violent screeds on social media.
McCarthy made Omar, Schiff, and Swalwell targets for the right’s vengeance in a January interview on Breitbart News, where he accused Democrats of setting a “new standard” of “picking and choosing who can be on committees.”
Schiff fired back at “weak leader” McCarthy for kowtowing to the fringe arm of the Republican Party in a shameless stump for speakership votes.
"I suspect he will do whatever Marjorie Taylor Greene wants him to do," Schiff said on ABC’s This Week, corroborating reports that McCarthy had been cozying up to the far-right firebrand in a desperate attempt to win over the House Freedom Caucus.
"He is a very weak leader of his conference, meaning that he will adhere to the wishes of the lowest common denominator. And if that lowest common denominator wants to remove people from committees, that’s what they’ll do," he added.
Former congressman Joe Walsh, a Republican, echoed Schiff’s sentiments, saying that if McCarthy’s speakership bid is successful, Greene would have him “by the short hairs every single day of the week for the next two years."
\u201c\u201cMarjorie Taylor Greene will be the Speaker of the House. She will have McCarthy by the short hairs.\u201d \n \n@WalshFreedom says the American people don\u2019t know who moderate House Republicans are, but they DO know who MTG is \u2013 and that matters to \u201chollow man\u201d McCarthy.\u201d— The Katie Phang Show (@The Katie Phang Show) 1668954248