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GOP House Caucus Gearing Up For Post-Blowout Civil War

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The very real possibility that House Republicans lose rather than gain seats in November already has the minority caucus drawing the battle lines for an epic leadership fight.

"If Trump loses, there's gonna be a mad scramble if we're in the minority," one Republican lawmaker told Politico. "There's people seeing this as an opportunity. … I think it's gonna be a real fight."

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GOP Leader Berates Reporter Who Asked About 'Kung Flu' Racism

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy lashed out at a reporter on Thursday who asked whether the California Republican thought Donald Trump's use of a racist term "kung-flu" was "an appropriate way to characterize the coronavirus."

McCarthy exploded in outrage over the questions, saying in response, "Do you think that's the most pressing issue you have about the coronavirus? ... What I'm thinking about is why that is your most pressing issue as a question. When we've just seen a spike in coronavirus, you're concerned about somebody and the way they name it."

Trump's use of the racist term for the coronavirus has sparked outrage, especially as many Asian Americans have found themselves the target of hate crimes and violence while Trump and Republicans continue to blame the COVID-19 pandemic on China.

At first, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway agreed it was not acceptable to use the term after a Chinese American CBS News reporter had said that a White House aide — whom she didn't name — used the "kung-flu" term.

"Of course it's wrong," Conway said on March 18.

Since then, Trump himself has started using the term, and as such Conway and other White House staffers have excused the behavior.

"My reaction is that the president has made very clear he wants everybody to understand — and I think many Americans do understand — that the virus originated in China and had China been more transparent and honest with the United States and the world, we wouldn't have all the death and destruction that unfortunately we've suffered and that's important, continue to be important," Conway said on Tuesday, reversing her past comment that using the term was "highly offensive" and "very hurtful."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said on Monday that it's not racist to use the term.

"The president does not believe it's offensive to note that this virus came from China and to stand up for our U.S. military, who China's making an active effort to completely defame, and that is unacceptable to the president," McEnany said.

McCarthy on Thursday wouldn't say whether he thought the racist term was racist. Instead, he appeared angry that he had to answer for Trump's use of the racist term at all.

"I think we should all focus, learn more about this disease, and stop this virus," McCarthy said. "But every time I've come here, you've always had those type of questions. It's interesting to me, if that's what your viewers care most about."

However, polls show voters do care about racism, with Trump's poll numbers sinking thanks in part to Trump's sowing of racial division.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

House GOP Leader: 'I Don't See Need' For More Aid To Jobless

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday said he didn't support more coronavirus relief, saying that he doesn't think it's needed at the moment.

"I don't see the need right now," McCarthy told reporters Tuesday, following a meeting on Capitol Hill with Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

McCarthy's comment mirrors that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said recently that he feels no "urgency" to pass more aid.The GOP's rejection of more coronavirus aid comes as more than 36 million Americans have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell predicted that the unemployment rate could hit 25 percent, higher than the peak of the Great Depression.

Powell said the job losses have hit the neediest Americans the hardest, with 40 percent of the losses coming from those who make $40,000 a year or less.

Polls also show that even the GOP base wants to see more coronavirus aid, with 73 percent of those voters saying that coronavirus aid should be a "top priority" for Congress, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll from earlier in May.

In fact, that poll found that "economic stimulus for COVID-19" is the top priority for all voters, second only to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

House Democrats, for their part, passed a $3 trillion stimulus package last week that included more direct payments to Americans, among other relief efforts.

However, Donald Trump has vowed to veto the legislation, giving the bill almost no chance of becoming law.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

House Republicans Insisted On Probing Benghazi — But Not Coronavirus Carnage

The House of Representatives voted 212 to 182 on Thursday to create a special panel to oversee the coronavirus pandemic and the federal government's response. But all 181 Republicans present and one conservative independent opposed the measure, with many dismissing the request for additional oversight as a scheme to hurt Donald Trump during an election year.

The new Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will be chaired by Majority Whip James Clyburn, under the auspices of the Oversight Committee. It will have broad subpoena power and be tasked with overseeing taxpayer-funded COVID-19 relief programs, the pandemic's economic impact, any disparate impact on minorities, and the executive branch's preparedness, response, and decision-making.

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