Jul 1, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript July 1
House Minority Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy held a press conference July 1, 2021. He addressed Rep. Liz Cheney’s role in the Jan. 6 Committee. Read the full transcript of the briefing here.
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Rep. McCarthy: (00:00)
I want to take a moment to acknowledge and bring attention to the gut wrenching scenes we have seen coming out of Florida, since that building first collapsed more than a week ago. Okay. We mourn the loss of the 18 lives who’ve perished, including the two children, ages just four and 10, whose bodies were found just yesterday. We continue to keep the families in our prayers, and the more than 145 individuals who are still waiting to hear updates about their loved ones. I also want to thank all the first responders. I want to thank Israel for sending over their team as well. I know they’re working round the clock. I know it’s tedious work and I know it’s difficult. But I want them to know that we appreciate it as well. Just moments ago, I made a unanimous consent request on the house floor to fund Israel’s critical Iron Dome defense system.
Rep. McCarthy: (00:54)
As many of you know, [inaudible 00:00:55], we have the President of Israel here this week. Israeli Government requested resources from the United States to help them replenish the weapons system supplies and equipment, which is vital to protecting the Jewish State from terrorist attacks. As many of you know, the Iron Dome, is a defensive protection. We watched the number of missiles come just a few months ago. I made the request alongside Whip Scalise, ranking member Granger, McCall, and Rogers. Considering Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, this measure should have received unanimous consent. House Democrats had an opportunity to show a sharp contrast from the anti-semitic rhetoric and actions taken by some of their own members, but they didn’t. Their caucus rejected this proposal and turned their backs on Israel instead. I have a real concern with what the Democrats are turning their back on, not just our ally, but also I feel turning our backs on America.
Rep. McCarthy: (01:53)
We’ve watched this few short months what they have done to the border. The refusal to hold China accountable. Do we have any hearings this week in regards to the 600,000 Americans who’ve been killed from COVID and where it came from. The Biden administration Democratic policies are facing multiple crisis in our country. We need solutions. That is why this week I announced the official launch of seven issue-specific task force that will focus on identifying policies that will improve the lives of all families in America. The task force chairs and members who are assigned to each task force will work together within their respective issues, areas to develop policies that can help us improve our lives. Many will be introduced this year and next year, and even into the next Congress. The task force members and leads for jobs and economy, it’ll be Patrick McHenry. Big tech censorship and data, Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Future of America freedoms, Jim Jordan. Energy, climate and conservation, Garret Graves. American security, John Katko. Healthy future, that will be Devin Nunez and Brett Guthrie. China accountability, Michael McCall.
Rep. McCarthy: (03:06)
Under their leadership, these task forces will work over the next couple months to build on our commitment to America agenda, which we released last year. And when we are in the majority in January 2023, we’ll be much different than the Democrats. Many of you recall, you all received a schedule of a calendar for Congress. The minute the Democrats won their victory in Georgia, what did they do? They canceled the schedule because they didn’t know what to do. And now we found out six months later, all they’ve done is developed a crisis. The Republican Conference will have the answers and the solutions, and we’ll lay them out to the American public to be very clear. As we move into this weekend, just six months of Biden administration, we have the highest gas prices in seven years, as many want to hit the road.
Rep. McCarthy: (03:57)
Inflation grew at the fastest rate since 2008. Crime, last weekend more than 70 shootings in Chicago. We just watched the weeks before a man and woman pulled from their car in broad daylight and shot and killed on the streets of Chicago. Just a few weeks ago, we watched the young children walking their neighborhood in New York, get knocked down by a man running who’s being shot at. Continued to shoot at him as he laid on top of the children. We’ve watched crime continue to spike as the Democrats made that movement just a few year ago, here about defunding of the police. Now we watch the Democrats defunding the police is not enough for them. We watched what happened in appropriations just yesterday. The defunding of the border as well. From CVP and ICE. Even reducing it below than what the Biden administration wants.
Rep. McCarthy: (05:02)
We watched the person in charge, the Vice President spend a short amount of time along the border, more at an airport. Saying that they inherited a problem, but each month the problem has gotten worse. It set a new record, a 21 year record of the number of people coming across. Well, I think the American public wants more. They want to hold people accountable. They want a border that’s secure. They want a economy that will grow. They want inflation under control and they want a gas price they can afford as well. Unfortunately, no one thought in this short amount of time, they’d put America in this greatest crisis. We watched the Middle East erupt, and today they had an opportunity not to send offensive, but defensive to our greatest ally, the only democracy in the Middle East. And they could not even agree on that. With that, let’s open it up for questions.
Rep. McCarthy: (05:55)
You want to go to you first?
Speaker 2: (05:57)
Rep. McCarthy: (05:57)
All right. Go right ahead. Let’s guess.
Speaker 2: (05:58)
So why should Liz Cheney lose her committee assignments for agreeing to serve on a select committee to investigate what happened on January 6th?
Rep. McCarthy: (06:07)
I’m not making any threats about committee assigns. But as you know how Congress works, you get elected by your district and you get your committees from your conference. So when Jeff Van Drew left the party and became a Republican, he lost his committee assignments from the speaker and got them from the Republican Conference. When Justin Amash left, he then went and got his committee assignments from the speaker. I don’t know in history where someone would go get their committee assignments from the speaker and expect them to have them from the conference as well.
Speaker 2: (06:44)
You haven’t even criticized some of your members like Andrew Clyde, who said that it was a normal tourist visit that day, yet she can lose her committee assignments for wanting to investigate what happened. Why would you criticize that?
Rep. McCarthy: (06:56)
Let me be very clear. I’m not threatening anybody with committee assignments. What I’m saying is, it was shocking to me that if a person is a Republican they get their committee assignments from the Republican Conference. For somebody to accept committee assignments from Speaker Pelosi, that’s unprecedented. Yes?
Speaker 3: (07:17)
Do you regret not supporting the bipartisan commission idea now that you’re going to have to deal with a committee that you have even less control over and an opportunity to influence and arguably would be more political?
Rep. McCarthy: (07:29)
No. I regret the politics of Nancy Pelosi. For six months she played politics with this. So what has transpired in those six months? In those six months in the Senate, they had two committees bipartisanly investigate this and give a report. The FBI has arrested almost 500 people. The architect of the Capitol has been given $10 million. Pelosi continues to make this nothing about politics. That’s why no one really takes this serious based upon the direction of what she wants to go. If you have read the Senate report, you’d be very concerned. You’re concerned of what happened on that day, but you’re concerned what happened on the days before it that caused that day to happened. Why wasn’t the National Guard here? There’s a lot of questions why that determination was made.
Rep. McCarthy: (08:22)
National Guard were doing street patrol, but not on the Capitol. It’s concerning to me why the speaker would narrow the scope. Did something happened in the summer to make that decision not to bring the National Guard here? Why were the riot gears locked in a bus that people couldn’t get to? All that preparation ahead of time. Why was the intel not provided and moved further? Sergeant of arms never spoke to me prior to the meeting, prior to the sixth, during the sixth, after the sixth. There’s a lot of questions that are raised. And you got the Senate that went and did the work. And we’ve got a speaker that did nothing but play politics and try to drive it that way.
Speaker 3: (09:03)
Well, you’ve got questions. Are you going to appoint members to this committee to try to answer those questions?
Rep. McCarthy: (09:08)
When I have news on that, I’ll give it to you. Yes?
Speaker 4: (09:12)
That was my question. Do you intend to name members to this panel? And if not, last week you met with Officer Vernone, you met with Officer Dunn, they were here last week. They urged you to take this seriously.
Rep. McCarthy: (09:25)
And Officer Sydney.
Speaker 4: (09:27)
Correct. So are you taking this seriously?
Rep. McCarthy: (09:33)
I take it very seriously. Yes?
Speaker 5: (09:33)
Speaker 6: (09:35)
I’m wondering, you just named a number of entities that you think are to blame potentially for the events of January 6th.
Rep. McCarthy: (09:45)
I didn’t say blame something.
Speaker 6: (09:45)
You have questions about it.
Rep. McCarthy: (09:45)
Speaker 6: (09:45)
But do you still believe that former President Trump is accountable in some way for the events leading up to January 6th?
Rep. McCarthy: (09:54)
Have you read the Senate report? Did you read the Senate report? Did you have questions about the prep that we had for this Capitol? Were you concerned about when they found IEDs in the morning? Did we not call the FBI? Were you concerned about the idea that the Sergeant of arms had intel provided by the FBI, but it wasn’t passed forward. Were you concerned if we had that information, why didn’t we have a different presence built here? If you were concerned about riots, why would you put the riot gear in a bus that was locked in a route down the way? If there was in the time of the riot took place, why was there not communication that had direction from leadership? Because leadership wasn’t talking. There’s so many failures along that way, that happened the days before that allowed individuals to get into the building. That’s what we want to make sure never, ever happens again. But I appreciate that. Did you have a question?
Speaker 6: (10:53)
Former President Trump was the President at the time. Does he have now responsibility?
Rep. McCarthy: (10:55)
Speaker 7: (10:56)
I was going to ask whether you were going to appoint people. Because she has a quorum now that she’s appointed Cheney.
Rep. McCarthy: (11:04)
She plays politics all the time.
Speaker 7: (11:06)
It would appear to be in your interest to get people on this thing now.
Rep. McCarthy: (11:11)
You think it’s in my interest that it’s a political game of what she’s playing. When I have news on this, I’ll provide the news.
Rep. McCarthy: (11:17)
Carl, how are you doing today? Did I upset you last time?
Rep. McCarthy: (11:22)
Oh. I thought from your article I must have upset you. I know gray hair is positive And you were younger than me. I don’t know. I hope you feel better after the article.
Rep. McCarthy: (11:33)
Speaker 9: (11:34)
Do you believe that effectively by Liz Cheney accepting a committee assignment on January 6th, she’s left the Republican Conference?
Rep. McCarthy: (11:43)
Oh, I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi. It would seem to me since I didn’t hear from her, maybe she’s closer to her than us. I don’t know.
Speaker 9: (11:52)
Examples you gave about previous members who lost their committee assignments when they literally left the conference.
Rep. McCarthy: (11:57)
I was trying to give you the sample based of how, when somebody comes here how they get their committees. Take, for example, when Liz Cheney came to Congress, she came to see me about and the other members on steering about committees assignments, just as every other Republican did. No Democrat came to see me about committee assignments. And the only time Jeff Van Drew came to me about committee assignments after he left. So no, that’s why it would be shocking to me for anybody from a party on the other side to come and want to accept a position Democrat from me. And it would be shocking to me to have a Republican to go to a Speaker Pelosi of all people, to accept a committee assignment.
Speaker 9: (12:41)
Speaker Pelosi to extend a seat to Liz Cheney or someone of your running conference.
Rep. McCarthy: (12:47)
Speaker 9: (12:48)
Do you think it will be bad of Speaker Pelosi to extend a seat on the committee for someone-
Rep. McCarthy: (12:52)
I’ve always found how the system works here, republicans conference appoints Republicans, and Democrats appoint Democrats. That’s why you have ratios. And that’s why you have a system the way it goes. Look, if I don’t see all of you, because we’ll be gone, I want to wish you all a very happy 4th of July. Let’s celebrate the freedoms we have and let’s not forget them. Thank you.