Nov 3, 2021
House GOP, Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript After Election Wins
House Republicans and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held a press conference on November 3, 2021 to address Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia governor race and other Republican wins in state elections. Read the transcript of the briefing here:
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Representative Stefanik: (00:02)
Thank you for being here today. Last night was not just a big night for Republicans, it was a big night for America. Americans across the country rejected President Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s radical socialist agenda. The question now is will Washington Democrats finally wake up and listen to the American people who have rejected this far left agenda? Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is the answer is no. This morning they are doubling down.
Representative Stefanik: (00:31)
What did we learn from last night? We learned that parents should be empowered to make decisions about their children’s education, not the federal government. We learn that Americans want more jobs, not more government welfare and reckless spending creating inflation. Americans want to fund their police departments, not defund them. Americans want freedom, not far left socialism. This is the message that united Americans across the country from New Jersey to New York to Virginia to Texas. It United Americans behind Republicans last night, and it is exactly what house Republicans have been saying for months. Republicans are the party of parents, of education, of small businesses, of freedom, and of family. Democrats are the party of big government socialism creating crisis after crisis. Even after their losses, Nancy Pelosi doubled down on her agenda yet again this morning, and that is exactly why she is a lame duck Speaker of the House. Republicans have a better optimistic vision for our nation, and we will continue to talk about the issues that matter to the American people.
Representative Stefanik: (01:39)
We’re going to hear from a number of my colleagues today with special guests from the Virginia delegation. But first I want to hand it over to my colleague, Virginia Foxx, who is the ranking member of the Committee on Education and Workforce, Virginia.
Virginia Foxx: (01:54)
Thank you. Representative Stefanik. Last night’s victory in Virginia proves that the voices of parents matter. It proves that parents will not and cannot be silenced. Education is at the forefront of voters’ minds because it matters. It matters what our kids learn in school. It matters what books are in our school libraries. It matters what kids believe about their country. Most importantly, it matters what our kids believe they are capable of achieving. The left has tried to take education out of the hands of parents, local government and the states for too long. This is our answer to the left’s attempt to nationalized education. No. No to leftist indoctrination, no to critical race theory and no to identity politics.
Virginia Foxx: (02:52)
Republicans believe in policies that unite us not divide us. We know that education is at its best when run locally and when parents have choice, that is what we are fighting for. No child should be denied the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential. It’s past time to support student focused education. Virginia’s election proved as school districts no longer have to kowtow teachers unions, the days of caving to powerful union bosses is over. The parents have awakened and are ready and willing to fight for their kids. It’s a great day for the future of education in our country. And now I yield to Rob Wittman speak on behalf of the Virginia delegation. Thank you.
Rob Wittman: (03:45)
Well, thank you, Virginia. And what a great day today from the outcome of the races in Virginia yesterday. I want to point to my colleagues, Representative Morgan Griffith, Representative Bob Good, Representative, Ben Cline, all part of an exciting evening yesterday, very historic. Yesterday sent a message, not just across the Commonwealth of Virginia, but across the nation that it’s parents that matter. That it’s parents that should be in charge of their children’s destiny and school systems. That it’s about small businesses and empowering them to make sure they continue to build this economic engine that we know right now has been stifled. We know too, that yesterday was about empowering communities to work with police departments to make sure they have the resources necessary to make our communities safer.
Rob Wittman: (04:32)
Yesterday was historic too, we have the first black female elected to statewide office in our new Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears. We have the first Latino elected to statewide elected office in our new Attorney General Jason Miyares. And we have a new majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. A new day that speaks volumes about empowering people, not government, about putting things back into our local communities, where they need to be, where they should be. Not in the hands of Washington, not in the hands of Richmond. This really is, I think, a watershed moment that folks across the nation can look to and say, let’s take our Commonwealth back here in Virginia, but other states will stay the same. Let’s take our nation back. Let’s empower the people that we know are the owners of the government, the people across our great nation and in yesterday of Virginia across our great Commonwealth.
Rob Wittman: (05:23)
And now I’d like to turn the floor over to my colleague, Congressman Tony Gonzalez from the great state of Texas.
Congressman Tony Gonzalez: (05:31)
Lots of smiles on our side of the aisle today. It’s a great day to be an Americans. It’s a great day to be a Texan. Last night, all eight constitutional amendments passed in Texas, that was historical. Also historical, we flipped a seat, the Republican party flipped a seat that is predominantly Hispanic, and hadn’t been flipped in a very long time. What does that show? It shows that Americans have had enough with this socialist policies, these Biden socialist policies. In particular, this failed border amnesty proposal is dead on arrival. Right? What it also showed that people like RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who invested in these Hispanic outreach centers in San Antonio make a difference, it’s how we win elections.
Congressman Tony Gonzalez: (06:15)
We won the election for two reasons. One, Americans have had enough of this administration, from the House to the White House. Two, people like Jeanie and Frank [Fonseca 00:06:28] who live in inner city San Antonio that go out and door knock and help candidates win at all different levels. We need more people. The Republican party needs more people like Jeanie and Frank, if we’re going to take back the House. Now I’d like to turn it over to my good friend, Julia Letlow from Louisiana.
Julia Letlow: (06:45)
Thank you Congressman. As a single mom of two, a former educator and a concerned American, education is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. It is no secret that our faces tremendous challenges in education. And during the pandemic this last year, many of us joined our children in the virtual classroom and found ourselves concerned with the curriculum we witnessed. The other side’s proposed solutions to nationalize the curriculum and push a one size fits all approach to education has proven to fail time and time again, and is clearly not the answer.
Julia Letlow: (07:21)
As Republicans we believe that education is a true partnership between parents and the learning environment that works best for their children. We don’t think that the relationship between a family and educators needs to be adversarial. We want schools to work hand in hand with families, bringing new ideas and innovations to the table that will truly put our students first.
Julia Letlow: (07:43)
The Commonwealth of Virginia spoke loudly and clearly last night and they agree with us. I think the problems we have with the other side’s education proposals are indicative of many of the larger issues. The other side wants to shut parents out and have of government do the job, that simply doesn’t work because these are our children, not the government’s. Parents should not have a curriculum forced on their children or fear indoctrination by a federal agenda. Instead, they should be able to choose one that fits with their beliefs and their values. Thank you. And I’d like to turn it over to my esteemed colleague for in Louisiana, Republican Steve Scalise.
Steve Scalise: (08:21)
Thank you, Julia, and for all my colleagues for being here. I first want to congratulate Governor Elect Youngkin for running such an impressive campaign. And it was a campaign that was focused on optimism. It was a campaign that was focused on empowering parents to take back their state, to take back the ability to have control over their kids’ education from the very union bosses who are trying to keep kids out of school, who are trying to keep parents out of school board meetings. That kind of big government socialism was rejected overwhelmingly by the voters last night in Virginia, and also big government socialism was rejected in a number of other states. New York, you saw record numbers of Republicans getting elected to school boards, where parents are getting more and more engaged at the local level, concerned about things like critical race theory being rammed down their kids’ throats, trying to teach hatred of America. That is unAmerican, and that was rejected last night.
Steve Scalise: (09:27)
Something else that was rejected last night was the Democrat’s radical crazy defund the police movement, overwhelmingly rejected by voters in states like Minnesota. It was so encouraging to see people take their government back, and that’s what you saw last night. And yet here in Washington, the same big government socialists who were rejected in states like Virginia are doubling down on their failed policies. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi did not get the message from what happened last night. Now maybe more of their members will look in the mirror and say, I don’t want to be the next Terry McAuliffe, but if they keep voting for big government socialism, they’re going to go the same way as Terry McAuliffe. Because if you look at a state like Virginia, it was a D plus 10 if you think about Cook ratings, that means a D plus 10 state became an R plus two state, that’s a 12 point swing, which means there’re districts all across the country that are represented right now by Democrats in at least D plus 5, 6, 7, even D plus 10 districts that have to be looking to in the mirror going, am I going to keep voting for this big government socialism? And I think they’re going to have a reckoning that it’s time to start working with Republicans on solutions that actually address crises and problems that families are facing.
Steve Scalise: (10:49)
This majority led by Speaker Pelosi has not brought up a bill in over a month to address any of the crisis, families are facing like inflation, like high gas prices, like the border crisis. Their answer is actually to go the opposite direction. They want to tax people more so that they can give out $450,000 checks to people who come here illegally. People are rejecting those kind of radical ideas. And I’ll tell you, as Republicans are focused on this common sense agenda to get this country back on track, to work with those parents who want to take their schools back. Our leader has been leading that charge to lay out that bold vision, meeting with parents, meeting with families, talking about an agenda that actually helps the hard working families who are struggling today under the weight of President Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s fail agenda. And he was very involved in the victory, helping the Youngkin, our leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Kevin McCarthy: (11:49)
Thanks Steve. [inaudible 00:11:51]
Kevin McCarthy: (11:52)
I thought somebody left it. Good Afternoon. Oh, what a night it was. And it was a night just not about Virginia, it was a night about America. You heard from other members here, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Texas. Today is a wake up call for Washington Democrats to abandon the partisanship, the extremist agenda of Washington based programs that cost trillions of dollars and don’t have programs that nobody even wants.
Kevin McCarthy: (12:34)
We have warned Speaker Pelosi almost every day that she’s been in the majority this year, that her policies were wrong and not wanted. She saw it time and again. She watched school board meetings where parents would come and asked to have a say in their children’s education. What was the Democrat’s answer? To pressure the attorney general to go after the parents, even if your child was raped in a bathroom. We watched people fearful of the rising cost of inflation, the Democrats answer, to spend trillions more, making cost attacks on everyone. As we watched with the cameras as Republicans went to the border led many times by Tony Gonzalez, the fear of what was happening of their new policies along the border where more than 1.4 million people have come across, more than 160 countries. People that are on the terrorist watch list being caught, and the Democrats continue to ignore this.
Kevin McCarthy: (13:46)
Crime rising across America for the cities that asked to defund the police based upon democratic policies. Just in my home state not far from Nancy Pelosi, our Speaker’s house, five Walgreens closed, because it could not stay open just with the theft that continues to rise. What was their answer? More of the same.
Kevin McCarthy: (14:12)
Just last weekend, NBC had a pull that talked about the biggest concerns that Americans had and who was best to lead it. I think when you look at Governor Elect Youngkin, he was one that can lead because he listened. He didn’t bring past politicians in, he listened to those in Virginia. Didn’t matter if you were Republican, Democrat, he didn’t take political consultants advice like Terry McAuliffe, He took parents advice. On his closing night he talked about reforming the DMV regardless of what party or who you are but if you live in Virginia, they’re going to answer the phone and ask how they can help. There’s a fundamental belief as Americans that parents should have a say in their children’s education. They should be able to know what the curricular are. And the one thing that we have found time and again, the Democrats believe that not to be true.
Kevin McCarthy: (15:11)
When I came in today, I expected maybe they’d have a change of heart. They’re doubling down with a new promise to vote again on all the things that an election last night told him not to. And when you think about it, in Virginia a Republican governor was elected after 13 consecutive statewide election losses to Democrats where just a year ago, President Biden won by more than 10 points. And as you heard, the new Republican Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears. In New Jersey, Democrats are underperforming even worse by more than 15 points. It’s not just in the governor’s race, which many of you did not follow or cover. The Senate Democrat president lost to a Republican who spent less than $200 on a campaign. Now what I would take from that is policy matters. In San Antonio, as Tony talked about, it’s not the first time you took a seat that was 73% Hispanic and Republican won, Tony has led that charge, but a state house seat that is 73% Hispanic, but carried by Joe Biden by 14 points, flipped to a Republican. In Seattle Washington, clear across the country, yes you heard that right. Anne Davis, a Republican is winning a race for city attorney. How many nights has there been a riot in Seattle Washington? She’s poised to be the first woman in that role and Republican in 32 years.
Kevin McCarthy: (16:58)
All those elections and also something else happened last night, we grew our conference one more. We’re now 213, it only takes 218 to be a majority with Mike Carey winning in Ohio 15. I don’t believe these races are just about Republican, what it’s about is failed policies that Democrats continue to push. I’m not sure what the speaker will do. I know we’re on break next week and she’s off to another European trip. I think that would make three in three months. If I was a Democrat today, one thing I would seriously know, there’s going to be a lot of retirements either before the election or in 370 days. If you do not change course, if you do not start listening to the public, if you do not understand the policies you are pushing or making prices more expensive will be our most expensive Thanksgiving ever. But the gas and the price of gasoline is higher than we’ve watched in seven years and the answer from your party is begging OPEC to produce more, instead of America solving their own problems. A border that’s unsecure with no attention, trillions of dollars you want to push with no money there to secure the border. And your education policy is to push the attorney general to investigate parents.
Kevin McCarthy: (18:34)
If you didn’t know that was failed by the polling, if you didn’t know that was a problem by the calls of Americans to your office, you should have woken up after last night, because it wasn’t just in Virginia. It was in New Jersey, it was in Minneapolis, it was in Texas and it was in Seattle. One thing I will tell you is Republicans listen. We hear you. We know the places that we can improve and we make this promise to you, we will soon unroll the parent’s bill of rights. Doesn’t matter your wealth, the color of your skin, once you have a child, it is no longer what you become it is now what opportunity your children will have. You have a right to know what’s being taught in the school. You have a right to participate. Education is the great equalizer we’re all created equal and we’re going to make sure we make that happen across this country. With that let’s open up questions. Yes. Ma’am.
Speaker 8: (19:40)
What role do you think played Donald Trump played in last night’s election results. This morning the former president was on a conservative radio and said, he was responsible for win, took credit for the win in Virginia. But, Youngkin touched Donald Trump at arms length and focused on policy and Donald Trump. What’s your assessment of the role that Trump played, if any?
Kevin McCarthy: (20:00)
My first was, I guess I can’t be surprised the morning after Republicans win across the nation, the media wants to try to find division. I watched a Republican party, more united, more people joining it based upon policy. Policy matters. And I think when you saw the last 10 months, the policy of the Democrats, I think people were open to trying to find something much better. And they’ve had that experience under a Republican majority and with President Trump in there. But I don’t think after winning all these races, that’s the question that would come before us, I think that’s just another political play. Yes.
Speaker 8: (20:44)
I know what you’re saying that it’s about this policy, but it’s also about [crosstalk 00:20:46]-
Kevin McCarthy: (20:46)
So a second question about Trump.
Speaker 8: (20:47)
Well, it’s what he’s talking about. He wasn’t there in Virginia talking about it. So is it a sign he’s not essential for Republicans to win? You don’t necessarily need him to have a success.
Kevin McCarthy: (20:59)
I don’t know. Have you ever run for office?
Speaker 8: (21:00)
Kevin McCarthy: (21:00)
Okay. So your question is about Trump after we just held an election where inflation is higher than we’ve ever been a part. We have a president that shuts down a pipeline with American jobs losing more than a million, but allows Putin to produce one. Where Putin is now bringing his own military to the border of Ukraine. We watched this president change by executive orders the border where the security is gone. We’ve watched parents come to school board meetings, craving to have input, a father getting arrested when his daughter was molested in a bathroom. We watched Republican after Republican, one who only spent $200 to take down a sitting president of the Senate. This is about policy. This is about a united party. This isn’t about division. And I don’t agree with your question to start out with. I mean, to me, if there’s anything the press should learn, you should learn from tell Terry McAuliffe, All he talked about was Trump as well.
Speaker 9: (22:08)
McCarthy, you can say policy matters yet most of the talked about and your colleagues here have been about [inaudible 00:22:15] the importance of local school, the DMV, so what does that have Washington? How can Washington Republicans champion these things if what you’re talking about are things at the local level? Which is what you’re-
Kevin McCarthy: (22:28)
All politics are local, but who is in Washington defending the parents? Who was in Washington questioning the attorney general? Who was in Washington asking him to rescind going after the parents when we found out it was one letter from one organization and they actually apologized after that hearing? Who has been in Washington saying don’t defund the police? Who’s been offer the legislation? So yeah, it’s local politics, but you know what? We’re all elected locally. So we bring those policies here because we listen to our constituents. There is a contrast between the Republicans and Democrats, there is a difference of belief. And I think that displayed pretty greatly in the election last night. Yes.
Speaker 8: (23:11)
The issue of education is going to be a top priority top issue they’re talking about in the midterms?
Kevin McCarthy: (23:17)
Oh, I think education is always a top priority, but I think the one thing you will find is the Republican Party will be the party of education.
Speaker 8: (23:25)
Is that something that has been highlighted to you and something you’ve learned from Youngkin and part of his playbook?
Kevin McCarthy: (23:30)
Have you spent any with Virginia Foxx or Elise or Congresswoman Letlow? Do you know what their life has been and what they experienced? This isn’t the first time we’ve been fighting and talking about education, right?
Virginia Foxx: (23:43)
Kevin McCarthy: (23:44)
This isn’t the first time we’ve been offering legislation about it. So it’s something that we have worked a great deal on and I think it will only be highlighted based upon what happened last night. Yes.
Speaker 10: (23:57)
About the national climate. What does this tell you about the depth of seats that you could [crosstalk 00:24:04]-
Kevin McCarthy: (24:04)
That’s a good question. If I was in the democratic conference today and you want to surely look at it from a political science point of view, if you’re a Democrat, if President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year, you are no longer safe. It’s no longer will the competition of competitive seats be small? It’ll be more than 70 Democrats that will be competitive. There’s many that are going to lose their races based upon walking off a cliff from Nancy Pelosi pushing them. She may not care to if she loses, she lost 63 the last time she was speaker moving policy that the country didn’t care for. Many believe she won’t stay around, so is she going to be there to defend you? Are you going to bring President Biden in with his policies, into your district to defend you? Are you going to bring the Vice President in? Terry McAuliffe did and look what happened to him.
Kevin McCarthy: (25:00)
I don’t believe that they can be helpful. What I do believe if they continue to push these policies, it could be one of the biggest election losses for Democrats. I don’t know when she was speaker last time losing 63 set a record, but it could be more competitive this time as well. [crosstalk 00:25:19] Yes. Last question.
Speaker 11: (25:21)
Hey, thanks so much. As we saw last night, there were massive waves for Republicans of New Jersey, New York, obviously in Virginia. The last time we saw some of these waves in especially case like New Jersey was in 2019 and shortly after that Representative Van Drew flipped from becoming a Democrat to becoming a Republican. Are you having any conversations with some of these moderate Democrats who are kind of on cusp of potentially losing their seats next year to come on over, especially those five moderate Democrats who are in opposition to the reconciliation bill as it stands and don’t seem to really fit the majority of their caucus anymore?
Kevin McCarthy: (25:53)
I remember sitting in this room one time and people kind of laughed at me when I said there were some Democrats who wanted to re-register Republican, and I believe the party is a big tent and everybody’s welcome. Jeff Van Drew left a party that was in the majority and joined the minor and he did it when the history was saying we were going to lose racists and seats and it was going to be competitive for him. He had a competitive race, but he did it because he said the party has left him. I think that discussion and I know I’ve had that discussion with quite a few members on the other side. Don’t be pushed to do something you don’t believe in because the policies are wrong, you’ve been reluctant right now, but join with us. Our party is open to have other people join us. Thank you very much. Have a good day. [crosstalk 00:26:45]