Jan 21, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript January 21
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held his weekly press conference on January 21. He said he does not believe that Donald Trump “provoked” the Capitol riots. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (00:00)
… Vice President Pence for their service to our country. Also acknowledged the many achievements that their administration was able to achieve. In just four years, we were able to build the greatest American economy we’ve seen in a generation, strengthen our military, pass historic peace deals, secured our Southern border, and ratified the United States, Mexico, Canada trade agreement.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (00:23)
While there was change of the political party in the White House, the problems that we need to address still impact America, are Republican, Democrat and Independents alike need to work together.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (00:35)
President Biden takes over at a time when America needs to get back to work, get their kids back to school, and get every American vaccinated who wants one. This is an immediate national priority. So we must ask if the plans from the Biden administration are helping the American people who need it most.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (00:53)
Are we helping businesses reopen and getting America back to work? Are we helping students get back into the classroom after many and millions of these kids have been learning from behind computers for almost nearly a year? Are we helping individuals, especially our most at-risk population gain access to a vaccine? T.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (01:16)
hat is why I was disappointed to see within hours of assuming office, the new administration was more interested in helping illegal immigrants than helping our own citizens. More interested in virtue signals to the climate activists and supporting the union workers who were building the Keystone Pipeline. And more interested in appeasing the WHO than getting to the bottom of how China released this virus to the world in the first place.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (01:45)
In fact, just this week, a panel established by the WHO itself said the organization failed to act quickly at the start of the pandemic. Instead of demanding leadership change and reforms, it’s unfortunately, it’s the wrong signal that the Biden ministration is rewarding failure.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (02:03)
These are the wrong priorities at the wrong time. Americans need our help at home, and that’s where our focus must remain. That means Congress needs to step up as well. But instead, I just heard the majority party is now telling us to go home, one day into a new administration. One day.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (02:25)
Well, they’re the majority in the House and they just became the majority in the Senate and they were just sworn in in the White House, they tell us to go home. Already canceling scheduled work week next week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (02:38)
I can promise you this, when Republicans are in the majority, we will not take the first week off. We’ll keep the commitment to America that we promised. And that’s exactly what we’ll do. Republicans are here, ready to work, ready to make sure that we get business back open again. We kid kids back in school and we get a vaccine to every person who wants one across America.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (03:03)
To me, that is a unity agenda. To me, that’s the priority that Americans want to see coming out of Washington. You can’t achieve that if you tell people to go home and not work. You can’t achieve that if your focus is more on the Paris accord, ending the Keystone Pipeline.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (03:26)
Those are not the achievements that I think America wants to see out of Washington and unity.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (03:31)
With that, let’s take some questions.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (03:32)
Speaker 2: (03:35)
Senator McCarthy, now your conference right now seems to be in a complete split because you have the Freedom Caucus members are already circulating a petition to call on your conference chairwoman to resign from her post. And you have the Democrats who are calling for a censure of at least two members right now.
Speaker 2: (03:55)
Will your conferences come together to stand behind those two members who are being called on to be censured? And where are you right now as far as the leadership is concerned, since there is a split as far as you guys are concerned on impeachment? Is there going to be any unity whatsoever going forward into this Congress?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:12)
You know, what’s different within our party and maybe with others, people have difference of opinion. We will have a conference next week. We won’t air it to the public, but we’ll answer the questions everybody has.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:23)
This is the same leadership team with the ranking members and others that came five seats away from winning a majority when everybody in America thought we were going to lose 20 seats.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:33)
Yes, we allow differences of opinion inside our conference. They’re welcomed. But I think there’s questions that need to be answered, style in which things were delivered.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:44)
At the end of the day, we will unify because our policies are right, which will unify as around. Do we have growing pains? Yes, we will. But we will do it in our private manner of a conference that we hold every time. And we’ll have it next week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:56)
Speaker 3: (04:57)
[inaudible 00:04:57] Liz Cheney to remain as conference chair or no?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:59)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (05:00)
Speaker 3: (05:02)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (05:02)
Let’s see if you change questions this year.
Speaker 3: (05:03)
Well, after the rioters came into the Capitol on January 6, you voted to overturn the results in Pennsylvania and Arizona. You also signed on to that Texas lawsuit to invalidate the election. You waited until a couple of weeks ago to declare that Joe Biden won the election.
Speaker 3: (05:19)
Given the violence that we saw, do you regret the role you played in any way in sowing doubt about the election?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (05:24)
I denounce any violence. Denounce it that day. Denounce it now. I denounced it in the summer. I denounced what happened last night in Portland and Seattle as well. I’m very consistent.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (05:35)
What I voted on wasn’t to overturn an election because it wouldn’t. It would not overturn. What I signed on to Amicus was the exact same question that you did a constitutional question about, did a legislature have the right, or did the legislature actually move through to make any changes?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (05:50)
This is the same thing that has happened in the last three Presidential elections. It’s the same thing that Nancy Pelosi said on the floor when she said, “This democracy. We should debate it.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:00)
It’s different than when Jim Cliburn voted to overturn Ohio, which you would say, because that would change the outcome of the Presidential election. So let’s be very clear on what we did. If mine was based upon policy and principle, yes, I would stay the course.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:14)
I’ve always denounced whatever individuals did here, what they did in the summer, what they did last night. That’s un-American. That’s undemocratic, and anybody involved with that should be prosecuted. I’ve been very, very clear about that from day one.
Speaker 3: (06:29)
Why did you come out-
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:29)
So thank you. What else?
Speaker 3: (06:30)
… earlier and state that the election was free and fair?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:33)
Go right ahead.
Speaker 4: (06:36)
As a follow up to his questions-
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:36)
Speaker 4: (06:36)
… are you concerned about fundraising this quarter now that dozens of corporate PACs have said that they’re not going to support people who objected to the electoral college results?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:44)
Not at all.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:44)
Speaker 5: (06:48)
To follow up on that, do you think that members of Congress who had any role in what happened on January 6th should be prosecuted?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (06:59)
Any member participated in breaking law or rioting in that way? Yes. I think anybody should be held account of that process. I do not know of any member that has done that. And this is why I called for, last week after this happened, a bi-partisan commission.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (07:14)
We should get to the bottom of this. There are so many questions that need to be answered. There’s so many questions that I had personally, as a leader. I read in the paper that the FBI prior to any rally had information that something was going to happen here and conveyed that to the Capitol Police.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (07:31)
I want to know why was the Republican leader not notified of that? Why was I not notified to make sure we protect? Even though I had House Administration attend a meeting where they said they had correct preparation, where they knew the National Guard and others. Was the National Guard called soon enough? Was it brought forward soon enough?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (07:53)
Were there reasons why the National Guard maybe wasn’t having arm? Is there a reason when something happened from the summer of why they would not be brought up sooner?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (08:00)
I have questions about this building. what I was told what was protected, what doors could not be opened or entered or penetrated. Well, that didn’t go through.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (08:09)
There’s a lot of planning through. And the only way you’re going to be able to answer these questions is through a bipartisan commission. So let’s get and have all the facts before we accuse anybody of anything, but let’s all base it upon the facts and the knowledge that we need to know.
Speaker 5: (08:23)
To follow up on that, leader McConnell had said that President, former President Trump and other important people provoked those folks to come to the Capitol. do you believe that President, former President Trump provoked?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (08:38)
I don’t believe he provoked if you listened to what he said at the rally.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (08:42)
Speaker 6: (08:43)
What role should former President Trump have in the Republican Party going forward?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (08:47)
Look, going forward, every former President still has a role within their party for the time basis. This President brought a lot of great success within, he brought people to the party hadn’t been involved in before, and he should continue to engage in that way.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (09:02)
But the one thing, I got asked a question earlier about what should the Republican Party focus or who should be the leader within the party? And the one thing we learned in the last four years that President Trump brought forward, that he listened to voices that no one else was hearing. On either party.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (09:17)
Those are the voices we should continue to hear. And you know what they’re saying right now? They’re watching an administration that says 11 million illegal immigrants are now going to become citizens. You almost have 11 million Americans who are out of work right now. Who’s listening to their voice? Or to the millions of parents out there that want to have their children go back to school to have an education. Who’s championing for them?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (09:43)
When we signed back up to the WHO without getting any accountability or any answers to why did they lie to the world? Or the union worker who’s building the Keystone Pipeline, idea that we’re going to lower energy costs, make us stronger around the world, less dependent on the Middle East. That America became energy independent just about a year ago. And why are we moving backwards? Why are we making the costs higher?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (10:11)
Those are the people both parties should be listening to. Those are the things that should be working. So no, when they hear the Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House say, “Take the next week off”, they probably were, probably very concerned about both parties.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (10:28)
When they hear that the first actions that we take aren’t about getting the economy moving again, they’re wondering, who’s listening in Washington. I’m going to promise you this. We’re listening and we’ll take action.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (10:41)
Speaker 7: (10:42)
Leader McCarthy, with Democrats now holding the balance of power, what is the future of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funding of abortion? And will you do anything to try and secure the Hyde Amendment?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (10:51)
Yes, but the Hyde Amendment should not just be a Republican issue. It’s an American issue, regardless of where you fall on this issue on this position, should taxpayers’ money be spent for this? Because you know what?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (11:04)
The Hyde Amendment has been agreed to for decades, not just by Republicans, but Republicans and Democrats. I think the individual that’s sitting in the White House today had voted for it many times.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (11:14)
It’d be interesting if people would change their opinion now. That would seem pretty political to me instead of being a basis of what your principles stand for.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (11:23)
Thank you all very much. I hope you have a great week.
Speaker 8: (11:28)
Speaker 9: (11:28)
I wonder if it’s going to be more the same going forward, huh?
Speaker 10: (12:05)
That’s what it sounds like.
Speaker 11: (12:05)
Speaker 9: (12:05)