House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California accused Democrats of operating on a double-standard in an impassioned speech on the House floor Wednesday.
Lawmakers in the lower chamber voted to censure GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona over a cartoon video he tweeted depicting himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword and then going to attack President Joe Biden.
Gosar was stripped of his committee assignments in a 223-207 vote – and McCarthy strongly hinted that a handful of Democrats will see the same fate.
In his speech ahead of the vote this afternoon McCarthy listed off five outspoken Democrats – including Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff of California – whose committee assignments could be on the chopping block if his party takes back the House in 2022.
McCarthy said of Democrats’ tenure in the majority, ‘What they have started cannot easily be undone. Their actions today and the past have forever changed the way the House operates.’
‘It means that the minority rights that have served this body as well are the things of the past. And furthermore, it means that under the Pelosi precedent, all of the members that I have mentioned earlier will need the approval of a majority to keep those positions in the future,’ he hinted.
‘The old definition of abuse of power- rules for thee but not for me. That’s exactly what’s happening here today,’ McCarthy began.
McCarthy railed against Pelosi and other House lawmakers in an impassioned speech ahead of the Gosar censure vote
He accused Democrats of taking away focus from more urgent national issues like the southern border crisis and record-setting inflation and said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was attempting to ‘burn down the House on her way out the door.’
‘What’s worse, we got to this point on the basis of a double-standard,’ the GOP leader said. ‘Democrats want to change the rules but refuse to apply them to their own caucus.’
Without naming any of them McCarthy singled out Waters, Omar, Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff of California, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York for failing to meet the ‘high standards’ he claimed Democrats were holding Gosar to.
Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, had previously sparked outrage when she encouraged crowds to confront Trump administration officials in public and private settings. When pressed she stood by those comments.
‘This side of the aisle didn’t ask that chairwoman to lose her committee, we simply asked for an apology,’ McCarthy said.
He then moved on to Schiff, who said during an appearance on NBC News earlier this week that he doesn’t ‘regret’ entering the widely-discredited Steele dossier into Congressional record in 2017 during a hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which he chairs.
Among the debunked claims he entered into the record was that the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win against Hillary Clinton.
‘Think about everything that dossier put this country through for two years based on fabricated evidence – the infringement of due process, the spying of the presidential campaign, and of course the $32 million spent by hardworking taxpayers for a Mueller investigation,’ McCarthy listed off.
‘And yet, the Democratic chairman says “I don’t regret it.” Why? Rules for thee, but not for me.’
He then referenced Swalwell, who was among the US politicians targeted by a Chinese spy campaign between 2011 and 2015.
‘Democrats kept him on the committee,’ McCarthy said over Swalwell’s position on the intelligence committee. ‘Why? Rules for thee, but not for me.’
McCarthy continued to Omar, listing off past comments that landed her in hot water with Republicans, Jewish groups and even some of her fellow Democrats.
‘When a Democrat congresswoman said “Israel was hypnotizing the world,” supporting Israel was “all about the Benjamins” and that 9/11 was “some people did something,” Democrats actually defended her,’ he said.
The most recent offense he cited was Jeffries, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, when the progressive Congressman tweeted to ‘Lock up Kyle Rittenhouse and throw away the key.’
McCarthy accused Democratic caucus chair Jeffries of trying to ‘sway’ the Rittenhouse trial with this tweet
McCarthy accused Jeffries of ‘attempting to sway an ongoing trial.’
He said he contacted Gosar before the video was taken down and that the firebrand Republican ‘says he does not believe in violence to anyone’ despite appearing decidedly unapologetic in the days after the clip rocked the internet.
Earlier Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the clip herself and made an impassioned plea to her fellow lawmakers to take action.
‘What is so hard? What is so hard about saying that this is wrong? This is not about me. This is not about Rep. Gosar. But this is about what we are willing to accept,’ said Ocasio-Cortez.
‘What I believe is unprecedented is for a member of House leadership of either party to be unable to condemn incitement of violence against a member of this body,’ she said. ‘It’s sad. It’s a sad day.’