Kevin McCarthy won’t let go of the GOP’s smear campaign against Ilhan Omar, but Democrats have moved on

kevin mccarthy ilhan omar
Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Ilhan Omar.

  • Kevin McCarthy is perpetuating the GOP’s smear campaign against Ilhan Omar.
  • McCarthy is urging Pelosi to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
  • Pelosi has already signaled Democrats want to move on from recent misleading criticism of Omar.
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is calling for Rep. Ilhan Omar’s removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Republicans continue to misconstrue recent comments she made on war crimes investigations, while Democrats largely appear to have moved on.

McCarthy urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to strip Omar from the committee based on what he described as “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American” language from the Minnesota lawmaker.

“I will promise you this. If we are fortunate enough to have the majority, Omar would not be serving on Foreign Affairs or anybody that has an anti-Semitic, anti-American view. That is not productive, and that is not right,” McCarthy said during a “Fox & Friends” appearance on Tuesday.

The comments mark the GOP’s latest efforts to attack Omar, who last week criticized both Democrats and Republicans for taking her words about the US’s opposition to investigate potential war crimes out of context.

During a June 7 congressional hearing, Omar questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken on accountability and justice for victims of crimes against humanity. She referenced two open International Criminal Court cases into potential war crimes – one involving the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan and another involving Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Neither the US nor Israel recognize the authority of the ICC, which can try individuals for war crimes.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle then accused Omar of “equating” the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, pressuring Omar to clarify her statements. Pushing back against the criticism, she underscored that she was explicitly referencing open ICC investigations.

“The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive,” Omar tweeted in response to a statement from 12 fellow House Democrats that condemned her recent remarks. “The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”

“Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from ‘deeply seated prejudice,'” Omar continued. “You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.”

The Democratic leadership in a statement last week erroneously suggested Omar drew “false equivalencies” between democracies like the US and Israel and terrorist groups, while welcoming the “clarification” issued by the Minnesota Democrat.

In a separate statement, Omar said she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel,” Omar said.

Several Democrats came to Omar’s defense, citing a history of Congress members making Islamophobic and racist remarks toward her, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted. “That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.”

Pelosi: ‘End of subject’

ilhan omar nancy pelosi
Rep. Ilhan Omar talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi in a CNN interview on Sunday made it clear that the Democratic leadership wanted to put the matter to bed and move on.

“She clarified, we thanked her, end of subject,” Pelosi said.

The top Democrat said Omar was a “valued member” of the caucus, and rejected the notion that the Democratic leadership had rebuked the Minnesota lawmaker over her statements.

“We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification,” Pelosi said. “She asked her questions of the Secretary of State. Nobody criticized those, about how people will be held accountable if we’re not going to the International Court of Justice. That was a very legitimate question. That was not of concern.”

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York also appeared on CNN on Sunday and said Omar’s comments were “absolutely mischaracterized” by Republicans and warned about the consequences of Democrats joining in and legitimizing their bad faith attacks.

“When we feed into that, it adds legitimacy to a lot of this kind of right-wing vitriol. It absolutely increases that target,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And as someone who has experienced that, it’s very difficult to communicate the scale and how dangerous that is.”

“As Speaker Pelosi said, we are putting this behind us and I believe that we will ultimately come together as a caucus,” she went on to say.

Republicans have engaged in a prolonged smear campaign against Omar

rep ilhan omar
Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

The recent attacks on Omar are part of a broader trend or smear campaign primarily perpetuated by Republicans and their allies in the right-wing media.

Republicans have consistently accused Omar of anti-Semitism and employed Islamophobic rhetoric against her, suggesting that she’s a terrorist sympathizer. Democrats and prominent groups in Washington have also joined the pile-on at times, taking her words out of context in the process.

In 2019, Omar sent tweets that led to widespread allegations of anti-Semitism, and she promptly apologized. The tweets suggested politicians in Congress had been bought off by influential groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which critics said echoed anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money.

Since that controversy, Omar has been vocal in condemning anti-Semitism and attacks on Jewish people while also calling for a more balanced approach to addressing potential human rights abuses by the US and its allies, including Israel.

Meanwhile, Republicans have baselessly accused Omar of anti-Semitism over her criticism of the Israeli government. The Minnesota lawmaker’s rhetoric on Israel, including referring to it as an apartheid state, has been in line with conclusions and statements of leading human rights groups.

Omar is one of the first two Muslim women in Congress in US history, and her defenders in Congress say it’s not a coincidence she’s been the target of a coordinated smear campaign by Republicans.

In a statement offering support to Omar last week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus said, “We cannot ignore that a right-wing media echo chamber that has deliberately and routinely attacked a Black, Muslim woman in Congress, distorting her views and intentions, and resulting in threats against Rep. Omar and her staff.”

“We urge our colleagues not to abet or amplify such divisive and bad-faith attacks,” the statement added.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene apologizes for comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust, insisting she’s ‘very much a normal person’

marjorie taylor greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., holds a news conference to apologize for her recent remarks equating mask mandates with the Holocaust in Washington on Monday, June 14, 2021.

  • Greene apologized for her previous comparisons of COVID-19 safety measures to the Holocaust.
  • She opened a news conference on Monday evening by saying: “I’m very much a normal person.”
  • Greene came under fire for comparing the House mask mandate to the horrors suffered by Jews in Nazi Germany.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday evening publicly apologized for her previous comparisons of COVID-19 mask requirements and vaccination efforts to the horrors suffered by Jews in Nazi Germany.

The Georgia Republican, known for her controversial statements, took a markedly different tone during a solo news conference, starting off by saying: “I always want to remind everyone – I’m very much a normal person.”

“One of the best lessons that my father always taught me was, when you make a mistake, you should own it. And I have made a mistake and it’s really bothered me for a couple of weeks now, and so I definitely want to own it,” she said.

Greene told reporters that she visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, earlier in the day and wanted to make it clear that “there is no comparison to the Holocaust.”

“There are words that I have said, remarks that I’ve made, that I know are offensive. And for that I want to apologize,” she said.

Greene’s apology comes as House Democrats move to censure her after she likened mask mandates and vaccine rules to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.

Greene attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi for keeping the House mask mandate in place although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted mask-wearing guidelines indoors for fully vaccinated individuals. Pelosi said that she was following guidance from the Capitol attending physician as vaccination rates in Congress, especially among Republicans, was unknown.

During an interview on a conservative podcast on May 20, Greene said: “You know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”

She also tweeted at the time that “vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”

The “gold star” reference, which historians more commonly refer to as a yellow star, was an identifier that Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear.

Several House Democrats swiftly condemned Greene’s language, followed by House Republican leadership. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy called her statements “wrong” and “appalling.”

Greene did not express any regret over her comments at the time, and instead doubled down on them in a series of tweets in which she described Democrats as “reminiscent of the great tyrants of history.”

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger: GOP must ‘take ownership for what happened’ on Jan. 6 or it will impact 2022 midterm elections

Adam Kinzinger
Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger said that the GOP has to honestly confront what happened on Jan. 6.
  • Kinzinger said that blocking a commission won’t stop the Capitol riot from being an issue in 2022.
  • Kevin McCarthy has “failed to tell the truth” to the GOP and American voters, he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Sunday said that even if a bipartisan commission to create a January 6 commission isn’t approved by the Senate, the Capitol riot will still be a factor in the 2022 midterm elections if the GOP doesn’t “take ownership for what happened.”

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Kinzinger, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the riot and supports the commission, was asked by host Chris Wallace if the Democratic-led legislative push was a way to keep the issue in the public sphere ahead of the elections.

“Well, here’s a revelation. This is going into 2022 midterms anyway, particularly if us as Republicans don’t take ownership for what happened,” he said. “If every other day there’s a new conspiracy theory about what happened at the Capitol, anybody but what it was, then I think it’ll go into 2022.”

Kinzinger said that Republican voters have “had their patriotism abused by somebody that simply wants to use it to maintain power.”

Read more: Being a Black Republican is exhausting. But Sen. Tim Scott and other big-name conservatives say they don’t need anyone’s pity or platitudes.

When asked whether GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s opposition to the commission was a conflict of interest, given his conversations with Trump regarding the riot, Kinzinger didn’t agree, but he proceeded to blast McCarthy for being dishonest.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a conflict of interest because Kevin is the leader,” he said. “There’s probably a lot of people that are going to be subject to being called in front of any investigation on this even criminal investigation, but I do think Kevin has failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to the American people.”

He added: “It pains me to say it. It’s not like I enjoy standing up and saying this, but people, the 74 million voters that voted for Donald Trump that believe – a number of them that believe the election was stolen believe it because their leaders have not told him, otherwise.”

Kinzinger said that McCarthy’s inconsistency has been detrimental to GOP voters.

“The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth,” he said. “That’s where Kevin has failed because he told the truth on January 13, something around then, and then he went to Mar-a-Lago and said Donald Trump’s the leader of the party. He’s right Donald Trump is the leader of the party, but we need to tell people the truth.”

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Kevin McCarthy opposed the Capitol riot commission this week despite expressing support for one in January

US House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy
US House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

  • The House voted this week in favor of creating a commission to study the January 6 insurrection.
  • All but 35 Republicans voted against the measure, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
  • It’s a reversal of his January stance, in which he said a “fact-finding commission” would be “prudent.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy voted this week against creating a commission to study the events of the January 6 insurrection, despite publicly expressing support for such a commission in the past.

The House passed a bill Wednesday to establish the bipartisan commission in a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats and voting in favor. Republican leadership, including McCarthy, came out in opposition to the bill.

McCarthy, a Republican from California, announced his position Tuesday, objecting to the bill because it did not include studying other unrelated instances of political violence. He also said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “refused to negotiate in good faith on basic parameters,” despite Pelosi agreeing to most of his demands, Insider’s Eliza Relman reported.

Read more: Meet Donald Trump’s next nemeses: The 15 prosecutors and investigators from New York who are primed to pepper the ex-president with history-making civil and criminal probes

“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” McCarthy said in a statement.

McCarthy and some other Republicans have argued the commission should also study violence associated with last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, while others, including GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, thought it should focus solely on the Capitol riot.

But in January, days after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters violently breached the Capitol and disrupted the certification of the election, McCarthy seemed to take a different stance.

As the top Republican in the House he said he would not vote to impeach Trump. Instead, he called for a “fact-finding commission” and a possible censure vote.

“Most Americans want neither inaction nor retribution,” McCarthy said, though surveys at the time indicated most Americans favored impeachment, NPR reported. “They want durable, bipartisan justice.”

He said Trump should take “immediate action” to “accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure that President-Elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”

“The president’s immediate action also deserves congressional action, which is why I think a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution would be prudent,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s stance on Trump’s role in the riot also appears to have changed since then, when during a speech on the House floor the lawmaker explicitly said the president “bears responsibility” for the Capitol riot. But speaking on Fox News late last month, McCarthy defended Trump’s actions on January 6.

McCarthy has also soured on Cheney since January, when he initially defended her after she voted in favor of impeachment. Last week, he supported Cheney’s ouster from a House GOP leadership role over her ongoing criticism of Trump, instead endorsing Trump-loyalist Rep. Elise Stefanik for the spot.

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Capitol Police distances itself from an unofficial statement from officers expressing ‘profound disappointment’ in GOP leaders’ refusal to support January 6 commission

Mitch McConnell Kevin McCarthy White House
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) address reporters outside the White House.

  • The Capitol Police distanced itself from an unofficial statement from officers slamming GOP leaders for opposing the January 6 commission.
  • Some Capitol Police officers released an anonymous statement skewering Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell.
  • They expressed “profound disappointment” in the GOP leaders for their opposition.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Capitol Police distanced itself Wednesday from an unofficial and anonymous statement reportedly from some officers, saying the agency “does NOT take positions on legislation.”

“A statement is circling on social media, which expresses an opinion about the proposed legislation to create a commission to investigate January 6,” the USCP said in a statement to Insider. “This is NOT an official USCP statement. The Department has no way of confirming it was even authored by USCP personnel.”

The USCP also posted its statement in a tweet.

Earlier Wednesday, some self-proclaimed members of the Capitol Police released a statement slamming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over their refusal to support a bipartisan commission examining the January 6 Capitol insurrection and its aftermath.

The statement was signed “Proud Members of the United States Capitol Police,” and sent on the letterhead of the USCP. It’s unclear how many members signed the letter, but the officer who wrote the unofficial statement told CNN’s Jamie Gangel that it represents the views of 40 to 50 officers on the force and that the statement “needed to be out there. It needed to be done.”

“We members of the United States Capitol Police write this letter to express our profound disappointment with the recent comments from both chambers’ minority leaders expressing no need for a January 6th commission,” the letter said. “The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish.”

The statement went on to say: “If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”

It is “inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of USCP,” it continued.

The statement also said it is a “privileged assumption” for lawmakers “to have the point of view that ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ That privilege exists because the brave men and women of the USCP protected you, the Members.”

Wednesday’s letter concluded by noting that it “comes to you anonymously because as US Capitol Police Officers, we are expected to remain neutral and do our jobs with honor and integrity. It’s unfortunate that our ‘bosses’ (Congress) are not held to the same standard that we, the USCP are.”

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is on the brink of passing the bipartisan proposal to investigate the Capitol siege, but McConnell’s announcement that he will oppose the measure could doom its passage in the Senate, in which Democrats hold a slim majority.

The Kentucky lawmaker said the bill in its current form was “slanted and unbalanced,” adding that it’s “not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could lay on top of the existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.”

McCarthy also voiced opposition to the bill on Tuesday, saying in a statement, “Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation.”

McCarthy was presumably referring to what he and other Republicans describe as violence by so-called “antifa” and Black Lives Matters demonstrators, whose actions have nothing to do with the events that catalyzed the January 6 riots at the Capitol.

The siege was largely provoked by former President Donald Trump’s emphatic and sustained lie that the 2020 election was “rigged” and unfairly “stolen” from him, despite zero evidence supporting that claim.

Charles Davis contributed reporting.

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US Capitol Police officers express ‘profound disappointment’ with Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell’s refusal to support January 6 commission

Mitch McConnell Kevin McCarthy White House
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) address reporters outside the White House.

  • Capitol Police officers released a statement skewering Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell over their refusal to support a bipartisan bill to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot.
  • They expressed “profound disappointment” in the GOP leaders for their opposition.
  • Officers suffered “hours” of “physical trauma” and “mental anguish” as a result of the riots, the statement said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Members of the US Capitol Police released a statement Wednesday slamming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over their refusal to support a bipartisan commission examining the January 6 Capitol insurrection and its aftermath.

“We members of the United States Capitol Police write this letter to express our profound disappointment with the recent comments from both chambers’ minority leaders expressing no need for a January 6th commission,” the letter said. “The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish.”

The statement went on to say: “If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”

It is “inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of USCP,” the statement continued.

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Biden isn’t stepping in to stop 20 GOP-led states from yanking federal unemployment within weeks

Joe Biden sad
President Joe Biden.

  • The Biden administration isn’t stepping in to prevent the loss of jobless aid in GOP-led states.
  • Around 3.4 million people are set to lose some federal aid starting next month.
  • A White House official told Insider the Biden administration wants to strike a “balance” between workers and employers amid a labor shortage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At least 20 Republican-led states are terminating federal unemployment aid programs starting in June in an effort to force more people back to work – Texas became the largest one yet on Monday. Some Democrats urged the Biden administration to step in and prevent this from happening, but there’s no sign they will.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont called on the administration to keep jobless aid flowing under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for millions of gig workers, contractors, and freelancers, set up under a federal rescue package early last year. In a letter to the Labor Department sent on Thursday, Sanders argued the agency had a legal obligation to do so.

The legal fight that Sanders is urging would be a bruising one at a moment Biden is pressing ahead with his $4 trillion economic agenda.

“They have not yet come out with a position that they can enjoin these states, and I know it’s a difficult legal and practical consideration for them,” Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow and unemployment expert at the left-leaning Century Foundation, told Insider. He said continuing the programs would either require buy-in at the state level, or the White House would have to confront Republican governors.

“They’d really have to clash with these states and it’s still unclear their appetite for that clash,” he said. Stettner recently projected that 2.1 million people would lose some form of unemployment aid in Republican states.

The largest chunk of that figure are on PUA and another federal program for the long-term unemployed. An estimated 1.3 million people would be deprived of all their jobless aid since they don’t qualify for regular state benefits. The remainder would receive the state payouts, but they typically replace only 40% of an individual’s past wages.

Biden is taking a hands-off approach on the issue after an unexpectedly dismal jobs report earlier this month. Last week, he underscored the ability of states to reimpose job-seeking requirements that were scrapped early in the pandemic as jobs vanished and unemployment surged. He also stressed that jobless aid was not the main factor keeping people on the sidelines, an argument economists largely agree with as well.

The White House is strongly indicating it’s leaving it up to states to decide whether to yank the unemployment aid ahead of its end in early September.

A White House official who spoke to Insider on condition of anonymity cited progress made on distributing vaccines and said the administration expects more workers to reenter the labor force in the next few months. The official said they’re attempting to find a middle ground between businesses and the unemployed as the economy recovers.

“We recognize that every state has different conditions on the ground,” the official told Insider, adding “the announcements [Biden] made last week are designed to balance the needs of both workers and employers as we work through this unprecedented transition.”

On Friday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “I would say that we certainly understand that governors and leaders are going to have to make a decision in regard to unemployment benefits, but what’s important to remember and what we remind people of is that, again, we don’t see this as a major driver in preventing people from seeking employment and seeking work.”

Republicans are urging governors to continue dropping the programs. “Our local job creators should not have to compete with the federal government for workers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California wrote in a letter to governors last week.

The White House is doubling down on its proposed spending programs. But it appears unlikely that the $300 federal supplement will be extended after Sept. 6 given the opposition of at least one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

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Liz Cheney hinted that Trump and Kevin McCarthy may have talked about setting their stories straight on the Capitol riot

Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney.

  • Fox’s Chris Wallace suggested that Trump and McCarthy may have spoken about coordinating their stories on the Capitol riot.
  • Rep. Cheney suggested that McCarthy was withholding information about his conversations with Trump.
  • Cheney was ousted from her GOP leadership role last week for refusing to back Trump’s election-fraud claims.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Liz Cheney has suggested that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was withholding important information about the GOP leadership’s response to the Capitol riot.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Cheney suggested that McCarthy knew more than what he was letting on.

Wallace first showed a clip from an April 25 interview in which McCarthy denied having a conversation with Trump to match their stories about a call they had on January 6.

In February, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler confirmed reports that McCarthy told Republicans that when he told Trump to call off the rioters, Trump replied: “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” McCarthy walked back those claims in the April interview.

When asked by Wallace if she knew anything about the subsequent phone call, Cheney said on Sunday: “He [McCarthy] clearly has facts about that day that an investigation into what happened, into the president’s actions, ought to get to the bottom of.”

“And I think that he has important information that needs to be part of any investigation, whether it’s the FBI, the Department of Justice, or this commission that I hope will be set up.”

“Any conversations that have gone on with the president about the president’s potential involvement in January 6, his potential determination not to step in and offer assistance, any conversations that have to do with any members of Congress … We know that there were conversations in the Oval Office before this about the possibility of declaring martial law and seizing, you know, seizing the ballot machines,” Cheney said.

Insider has contacted McCarthy’s office for comment on Cheney’s remarks.

kevin mccarthy donald trump
Rep. Kevin McCarthy and then-President Donald Trump in Bakersfield, California, in February 2020.

Cheney was ousted from her congressional leadership role in the Republican Party last week – a move that McCarthy supported – over her refusal to back former President Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

She was replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik, a supporter of Trump’s election-fraud conspiracy theory.

House Democrats announced last week that they had reached a deal with Republicans to form a bipartisan committee to investigate the Capitol riot, in which Trump supporters sought to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.

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GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says he would ‘love to move on’ from Trump, slams McCarthy for giving ‘his leadership card’ to the former president

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

  • Rep. Kinzinger criticized Republicans who are giving contradictory opinions about Trump’s influence.
  • “You can’t say he’s the leader and then say we have to move on,” he said.
  • Kinzinger criticized GOP leader McCarthy for effectively handing over power to the former president.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Sunday criticized Republicans who have expressed a desire to move on from former President Donald Trump while also supporting him as an enduring force within the party.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kinzinger told host Chuck Todd that the party members couldn’t embrace the former president and his debunked election claims, which have continued beyond his one term in office.

“Trump set the table,” Kinzinger said. “He’s the one that continually brings up a stolen election narrative. He’s the one that has convinced, members of Congress, including what we saw a few days ago, to have a hearing on January 6th and claimed that this was nothing but a tourist group, or that it was hugs and kisses.”

Read more: Bush-Cheney reunion: Jeb tops the ranks of donors from his brother’s administration coming to Liz Cheney’s defense with campaign donations

Kinzinger then chided House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California for what he said is the Republican leader’s abdication of his duties.

“You cannot on the one hand say that Donald Trump is a leader or the leader of the Republican Party – which I believe he is the leader of the Republican Party right now because Kevin McCarthy gave him his leadership card,” he said. “You can’t say he’s the leader and then say we have to move on. I would love to move on.”

When asked about the more moderate voting record of newly installed House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, compared to that of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a conservative who was dumped from leadership for vocally challenging the former president, Kinzinger was less than enthralled by the lack of focus on ideas.

“I think what it means to say to any Republican that’s maybe kind of confused by the moment we’re in is policy doesn’t matter anymore,” he said. “It literally is all your loyalty to Donald Trump. As I’ve said before, this is something that like echoes a little bit out of North Korea where no matter what policy comes out, you’re loyal to the guy.”

Kinzinger, who was first elected to the House in 2010, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.

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‘Donald Trump didn’t need to sleep five hours a night’: McCarthy says that Biden doesn’t have the ‘energy’ of the former president

Kevin McCarthy Joe Biden White House
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office, which included (clockwise from left) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

  • Kevin McCarthy said that President Biden doesn’t have the “energy” of former President Trump.
  • “Donald Trump didn’t need to sleep five hours a night,” McCarthy told Sean Hannity.
  • McCarthy sat for an interview with Steve Scalise and new House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said on Friday that President Joe Biden doesn’t possess the “energy” of former President Donald Trump, after a recent meeting at the White House.

McCarthy, who is seeking to regain control of the House in next year’s midterm elections, met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, alongside GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

While being interviewed on Fox News by host Sean Hannity, McCarthy gave his assessment of the meeting after Hannity asked if Biden was “engaged” and had a “high level” of energy.

“He was with it and he was engaging and he was giving me numbers and talking,” he said. “But at no time, having known Joe Biden for quite some time, does he have the energy of Donald Trump. We both know it.”

He added: “Donald Trump didn’t need to sleep five hours a night. If you called Donald Trump, he would get on the phone before staff would.”

Read more: How Marjorie Taylor Green became the Voldemort of Congress. Few lawmakers even want to say her name.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and newly-installed House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York were also part of the interview.

Stefanik, a 36-year-old New York lawmaker and Trump loyalist, replaced Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the conservative scion of a prominent Republican family, after Cheney’s refusal to validate the former president’s debunked claims about the 2020 presidential election.

McCarthy, who criticized Cheney for not articulating a united message against the Democratic Party, backed Stefanik’s ascencion to leadership, along with Trump.

The three GOP members largely attacked Biden’s policies during the interview.

“I am excited about Elise Stefanik joining the leadership team because Joe Biden is not just ignoring the problems, he’s igniting them,” McCarthy said.

Biden, who is seeking to pass a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, has hit a huge roadblock with the GOP leaders, who are seeking a smaller package and object to raising the corporate tax rate to fund the legislation.

The president has sought to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, but said he is open to negotiating the final number.

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