Loading...

Dems Ask McCarthy to Recant Pelosi Taunt as Tensions Rise

August 6, 2021by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
Dems Ask McCarthy to Recant Pelosi Taunt as Tensions Rise
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks at a news conference on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021, to complain about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the leadership of President Joe Biden, and guidelines on face masks by the Centers for Disease Control. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several House Democrats have called on House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to apologize to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or resign after audio surfaced of him saying at a weekend fundraiser that it would be “hard not to hit her” with a gavel if he’s sworn in as speaker after the 2022 midterm elections. 

The comment is emblematic of the rising tension between the two leaders since the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which a violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol and some hunted for Pelosi by name. After initially condemning the rioters and blaming Trump for inciting them, McCarthy and his leadership team have recently tried to lay blame on Pelosi, falsely claiming that she was responsible for a delay in military assistance. And McCarthy has remained close to Trump, who often insulted his political rivals in personal terms. 

Democrats responded quickly, noting the threats on Pelosi’s life on Jan. 6, when the insurrectionists broke into her office, stole some of her belongings and called out for her.

“Threatening violence against the Speaker of the House is no joke,” tweeted New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “This is the kind of reckless language that led to a violent insurrection.” 

The public strain between the two — extraordinary even by congressional standards — has moved beyond the insurrection into most every matter between them as McCarthy is eyeing the speakership and an election map that could be favorable to Republicans next year. McCarthy last week blamed Pelosi for a renewed mask mandate in the House as “a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.” Pelosi shot back that he was a “moron.” 

On Saturday, McCarthy was attending a Tennessee Republican Party Fundraiser when he was gifted an oversized gavel with the words “fire Pelosi” on it, according to local publication Main Street Nashville, which also posted audio of the comments. McCarthy responded by saying that he wanted the crowd to watch Pelosi hand him the gavel if he wins the speakership, and “it’ll be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down.”

Asked about the comments, McCarthy’s office said in a statement that “he was joking.”

But Democrats suggested the remarks were part of a broader problem. New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster noted that McCarthy had voted against the Violence Against Women Act, legislation designed to protect women from domestic violence that passed the House in March. 

Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., tweeted: “There’s nothing funny about hitting Speaker Pelosi or any woman,” adding that he “continues to reminds us that nothing will get in the way of his ambitions — including joking about hitting a woman to excite his small base.” 

Democratic Reps. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Eric Swalwell of California said McCarthy should step down. ” I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again—he should RESIGN!!” tweeted McGovern. 

While already disagreeing on most policy matters, McCarthy and Pelosi have also clashed in recent weeks over the mask mandate, which some Republicans have resisted and argued is not based on science. The requirement was re-instituted in the House after a recommendation from the Capitol Physician. 

Asked about her “moron” comment last week, Pelosi responded: “To say that wearing a mask is not based on science, I think is not wise, but that’s all I am going to say about that.”

McCarthy also withdrew five members from a select committee established last month to investigate the insurrection after Pelosi rejected two of his members, saying they couldn’t sit on the panel because of their “antics” defending Trump after the attack. McCarthy called the move an “egregious abuse of power” and the committee a “sham.” 

Holding a news conference ahead of the committee’s first hearing, in which police officers spoke emotionally about their physical and mental pain after the rioting, McCarthy and his leadership tried to shift blame from the Trump supporters who laid siege to Pelosi herself. McCarthy said there were “questions into the leadership within the structure of the Speaker’s office” about delays in the National Guard’s arrival that day. 

However, Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for the guard’s help after the fighting began, and Pelosi’s office has said she did not weigh in on the guard’s presence before that. The delays were instead due to communications between security officials in the Capitol and the Pentagon and a lack of preparedness ahead of the attack. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who was then majority leader, had identical authority over the guard as Pelosi. But McCarthy has repeatedly ignored all questions about his role. 

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

Jan. 6 Panel to Hear From Top Aide in Trump's White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Capitol insurrection will hear testimony Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Capitol insurrection will hear testimony Tuesday from Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide in Donald Trump's White House who is a vital witness in the sweeping investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, a person familiar with the matter told... Read More

June 28, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Considers Adding $2.2 Billion to Mental Health and Drug Programs

WASHINGTON — Rahul Gupta talked to a congressional panel Monday about patients he treated with drug overdoses. Gupta is director... Read More

WASHINGTON — Rahul Gupta talked to a congressional panel Monday about patients he treated with drug overdoses. Gupta is director of the U.S. National Drug Control Policy. He formerly worked as an internist in private practice for 25 years. Rather than victims finding help with addictions... Read More

June 24, 2022
by Dan McCue
Hoyer Leads Charge to Bolster American Competitiveness

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Thursday urged House and Senate conferees currently working on a bipartisan... Read More

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Thursday urged House and Senate conferees currently working on a bipartisan innovation bill to complete their work soon so that the House can vote on it before the August recess. Originally called the Endless Frontier Act, the... Read More

June 24, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Justice Dept. Suspects Trump Supporter of Influencing Jan. 6 Riot Prosecutions

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to investigate whether former Trump attorney Sidney Powell is contributing... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to investigate whether former Trump attorney Sidney Powell is contributing funds to the legal defense of the right ring extremist Oath Keepers accused of raiding the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The Justice Department says... Read More

June 24, 2022
by Dan McCue
House Passes Bipartisan Gun Legislation, Sending It to Biden

WASHINGTON — The House gave its approval on Friday to a bipartisan compromise intended to stop dangerous and mentally ill... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House gave its approval on Friday to a bipartisan compromise intended to stop dangerous and mentally ill people from getting their hands on firearms, ending a three-decade stalemate over how to deal with mass shootings and other deadly firearm-related incidents. The 234-193 vote,... Read More

June 23, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Seeks to Update Its Computer Systems

WASHINGTON — Congress is trying to catch up to the computerized automation that is running many American businesses but only... Read More

WASHINGTON — Congress is trying to catch up to the computerized automation that is running many American businesses but only now is filtering into more conservative government offices. A House committee held a hearing Thursday to determine how to bring greater efficiencies into government operations through... Read More

News From The Well