Mar 18, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript March 18
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held his weekly press conference on March 18, 2021. He discussed the crisis at the southern border. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Kevin McCarthy: (00:01)
Good morning. Thank you for coming. Let me start and begin with two weeks ago, I sent a letter to President Biden, requesting a meeting to discuss the border crisis. As of today, I still have not received a response from him or anyone in his administration, but in that short time period of two weeks, the situation at the border has only worsened.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:23)
The United States now has an unprecedented 13,000 migrant children in custody. At least one migrant facility hit 729% capacity and the mass influx shows no signs of stopping. When I toured there I went to the El Paso facility. It was built during the Trump administration. 98,000 square feet. They say they built it so large that they would never meet capacity. That day, that Monday, they did something they didn’t think they could do, they surpassed capacity for the very first time. 1,040. What that meant was 120 border patrol agents who were supposed to be protecting our borders got pulled off to be in that facility.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:15)
Earlier this week when I led a trip to the border with 12 of my Republican colleagues, what we witnessed confirmed that the situation is even worse than we anticipated. Now this photo was taken four days ago on private land at the border. This is what a crisis looks like. This is what the president will not go see. This is what President Biden will not acknowledge.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:43)
The migrant facilities are exceeding capacity and require additional manpower. The overflow is taking border security agents off the patrols and creating more security vulnerability for our country. 10% of the migrants in the facilities we toured are testing positive for COVID, and those are just those that are tested. They do not test them when they enter.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:07)
While I was there, they announced they were moving 1,000 to Midland, Texas, 3,000 to the convention center in Dallas. More coming probably to your cities as well. Not only does this create a health risk for the agents but it’s also sacrificed the efforts our communities have made to stop the spread of this virus.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:29)
Even more alarming during our briefing, we were informed that the border patrol agents have caught suspected terrorists trying to enter our country. I thought that would make all members of Congress think we would have to work on this subject. Instead I have known several Democrats were quick to accuse me of lying on Twitter. One even serves on Intel. It turns out they should have taken that time to find out the true facts.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:56)
Two days ago, Axios reported confirmed that just in the past five months, border patrol agents have arrested at least four individuals who match the names on the FBI terrorist screening list. Even the president’s own homeland security secretary confirmed yesterday that the terrorists indeed have been trying to illegally cross the border.
Kevin McCarthy: (03:20)
When I sat at Monument Three discussing with the Border Patrol agents, I asked them for which countries have you found people coming across. Yes Mexico and Central America. They talked of Turkey, Iran, China, Sri Lanka and others.
Kevin McCarthy: (03:37)
This should frighten every American family, even one suspected terrorist who gets into our country is too great a risk for our country and our nation’s security. We must do more to stop this historic flow of migrants trying to illegally enter our country. It begins by sending a very clear message, united message to the citizens of Mexico, Central America, do not make the dangerous journey to the United States to cross the border illegally.
Kevin McCarthy: (04:10)
There are legal avenues to enter our country. Doing otherwise is a violation of our laws. Unfortunately House Democrats are not interested in making any serious attempt to address this crisis. Today they were voting on two bills that not only do nothing to address the problem, it ignores the problem, but will actually worsen the situation. During a press conference this morning, the Speaker Pelosi had a sign-up that said Home Is Here. This is the wrong message at the wrong time. Homeland Security Secretary was saying, “Do not come. Just do not come right now.”
Kevin McCarthy: (04:47)
If you wonder when this all started, you can go back to the presidential debate, the very first presidential debate. What did Joe Biden say? He said illegal immigrants should immediately surge to the border. What did he think would happen when he said that? When I entered the facility there were some families there. There was one from Honduras. Carlos Gimenez spoke to them, asked them how long the trek was, 22 days. I just read a quote from another family from Honduras, said why they made the trek, because they heard President Biden say they were welcome.
Kevin McCarthy: (05:28)
They heard President Biden in a presidential campaign debate tell them illegal immigrants should immediately surge to the border. This president denies the right to even meet about it, travel to it, or acknowledge the crisis he created. Our border agents are overwhelmed and they deserve the help of their federal government. I’m calling on to put politics aside. Let’s work together for the security of our nation. That’s why I sent the letter before I went to the border.
Kevin McCarthy: (06:02)
As I sat at Monument Three, you look at the wall that was built in El Paso, it was supposed to be 150 miles. They built 133 miles, 17 short. I asked them when did they stop. Midnight, January 20. Has it created a problem? Yes, because it left the old barrier down and easy entrance for others. I asked them what they have seen recently. More fentanyl than any given time. More cartel movement than in any given time.
Kevin McCarthy: (06:34)
President Biden’s own secretary says we’re going to meet an all-time high, but still won’t use the word crisis. The president’s going to travel the nation. He’s going to tout a $1.9 trillion bill, the single largest. In that bill is healthcare for illegals, another clear message to create a bigger crisis along our border. Last week, Speaker Pelosi re-appointed Eric Swalwell to the Intel Committee. Based on the briefings she and I received together, Swalwell should not serve on the Intel Committee. This isn’t about politics. The Intel Committee is a committee not like others. Those in the majority are only appointed by one person, the Speaker. She has all the information that I have. Even if she did not have that information, I think a basic item that all members who get appointed to the Intel Committee should have. If you cannot get a security clearance in the private sector, you should not be appointed to the Intel Committee. Eric Swalwell, based upon everything in public that you know, cannot get security clearance in the private sector but only in Congress would he get appointed to learn all the secrets of America. That’s wrong.
Kevin McCarthy: (08:03)
… of America. That’s wrong. She’s got 200 other members who could serve on that committee. And I think the only criteria that someone would have to meet from the very beginning would be, can you have a security clearance in the private sector? If you can’t meet that bar, you shouldn’t be able to meet a bar to serve on the Intel Committee. With that, let’s open it up for questions. Yes, sir?
Speaker 1: (08:28)
Sir, I’m wondering what is the status as far as you know of that Iowa Congressional seat? I think Dr. Miller-Meeks. Where does that stand?
Kevin McCarthy: (08:35)
Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Dr. Meeks. She went with us down to the border. She was the Public Health Officer in Iowa. She’s the one who offered the amendment on the floor just this week to make sure the children are being tested for COVID. It was the Democrats who united to vote against her. There is a contested race. The Democrat wants to continue contested, even though Mariannette Miller-Meeks won the race, won the recount, and was certified. Interesting, the Democrats who are contesting it didn’t go to the court system, which was the appropriate place to go. She said, “I’m taking it directly to the House,” because that’s where she thinks she could get the outcome that she desires.
Kevin McCarthy: (09:17)
Speaker Pelosi talks about it. I know. As of today, their majority is not a five. It’s only a four. I’ve watched this majority do things that no Congress in the past have done. I would not put it past them to try to steal a race. They did it before in 1985, with the Bloody Eighth of Indiana, but they should not be able to do it now. They should uphold exactly what the recount said. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 2: (09:45)
Leader McCarthy, would you define January 6th as an insurrection?
Kevin McCarthy: (09:49)
Speaker 2: (09:50)
And also, following up on the 9/11-style commission.
Kevin McCarthy: (09:53)
Speaker 2: (09:54)
Where does this stand? Have you spoken with Speaker Pelosi? Is there any path forward?
Kevin McCarthy: (10:00)
I think the path forward very easily. I mean, if you go back to the 9/11 Commission and those who ran it, Governor Kean and Hamilton, they laid out a very … the framework that would work. Unfortunately, the only person who’s opposing that is Speaker Pelosi. I read today in someplace that she … Maybe it was in Punchbowl. Does that give you a plug? Does that help you?
Speaker 3: (10:22)
I guess so.
Kevin McCarthy: (10:23)
All right. Is that where I read it?
Speaker 3: (10:26)
You haven’t said the sentence yet, so I can tell you later.
Kevin McCarthy: (10:29)
That she wants to go through committees that Democrats control. So it seems like she wants to do something political instead of get to the truth. Instead of making something set up that is bipartisan, much like the 9/11 Commission. If she goes down that path, we know exactly what it is. Just a partisan play.
Speaker 2: (10:47)
Have you given her any of your suggestions?
Kevin McCarthy: (10:47)
Yes. Yes. I sent back to her. It’s the same suggestions that the bipartisan commission, the Republican and Democrat said. You make it equal number of Republicans ever. You make it equal when it comes to subpoena power, that both have to sign off. And you don’t start with any findings. That’s how you find truth. But if you start with the premise that you only want it one-sided, you understand what the outcome is going to be. We’ve watched what she has done in the past when she appointed Honore.
Kevin McCarthy: (11:16)
On the comments he had made, he never should have been appointed. He literally stated that 30 to 40%, if I got the number right, of the Capitol Police were complacent in the January 6th. He said something to me are qualified honest about Jim Crow Laws. When I asked him about those, you know what his answer to me was when I said, “Why did you say these”? He goes, “I didn’t know I was going to get the job.” He never should have been put in that position, but the Speaker picked him knowing what he had said, not years ago, but just recently. So it seems as though she wants to put politics to this instead of get to the real answer.
Speaker 4: (11:56)
Yeah. Regarding the Capitol Police, should Acting Chief Pittman remain in her role as the leader of that department, or should there be a change in leadership?
Kevin McCarthy: (12:09)
Well, she’s acting. I think we should go and search for who’s best, but the number one thing we should do is change the structure of that.
Speaker 4: (12:14)
No, I understand. The bipartisan contingent of lawmakers have agreed that it’s antiquated. The Capitol Police needs to be changed. I understand that. Do you think that she should continue serving as the leader of the department?
Kevin McCarthy: (12:29)
I don’t have enough information because it all rests with the Speaker. Yes?
Speaker 5: (12:32)
Mr. Leader, what is your reaction to the Atlanta shootings this weekend? Do you condemn violence and discrimination against Asian-Americans?
Kevin McCarthy: (12:38)
Oh, yes. Condemn them completely.
Speaker 5: (12:41)
I mean, in terms of some of your colleagues who have suggested the former president-
Kevin McCarthy: (12:46)
I don’t think any colleague would not condemn that violence.
Speaker 5: (12:49)
Anti-Asian rhetoric. Do you regret using terms like Chinese Coronavirus and-
Kevin McCarthy: (12:55)
I don’t know. Does CNN regret that? Does the Democratic Committee that started out regret that? I would wait to see why the shooter did what he did, but if the virus came from China, and I think the knowledge we had at the time is exactly that. I don’t think people from the standpoint to go after any Asian, from any shape or form, and I condemn every action to that. Yes?
Speaker 3: (13:19)
I have just two questions-
Kevin McCarthy: (13:21)
Just two. Just two.
Speaker 3: (13:22)
Following up on that on Honore-
Kevin McCarthy: (13:24)
Well, first of all, did you put in Punchbowl that part or did I give you the wrong credit?
Speaker 3: (13:30)
[crosstalk 00:13:30] Yes. I think we did something on the 9/11 Commission.
Kevin McCarthy: (13:34)
Did you not write this? Should I talk to John instead?
Speaker 3: (13:36)
You should talk to Brett. Yeah. No-
Kevin McCarthy: (13:37)
You’re sleeping in today. Okay.
Speaker 3: (13:38)
Never sleeping in.
Kevin McCarthy: (13:39)
What’s your question?
Speaker 3: (13:41)
Do you take issue with what Honore has suggested in any way?
Kevin McCarthy: (13:45)
Well, you’re saying what he suggested. What part has he suggested?
Speaker 3: (13:49)
He issues a report, basically.
Kevin McCarthy: (13:52)
I don’t think the report has merit based upon if you don’t change the structure, the outcome’s not going to change. I don’t think Honore should have been in charge of this based upon his comments, not long ago, but short ago. He had a preconceived notion that was wrong, so I disregard the report entirely because of that.
Speaker 3: (14:13)
And number two, you said that there was a surge at the border because of something Biden said in the debate. What did he say in the debate?
Kevin McCarthy: (14:21)
Biden said in the debate, let me get it for you.
Speaker 3: (14:24)
You can paraphrase it.
Kevin McCarthy: (14:26)
Well, he said in the very first debate … I don’t want someone to yell at me. Okay, here we go. I don’t have my glasses on. In the first Democratic Primary Debate, Biden says when he’s President, illegal immigrants should immediately … This is quote. “Immediately surge to the border.” I could play the video if you want. Okay. You trust me? All right. I’ll send it to you.
Kevin McCarthy: (14:49)
So if I may ask a question back, if you are that Honduras family and you’re reading this and the person running for President said, “You should immediately surge to the border.” He wins the presidency. And what’s the first thing he does? He says, “I’m going to make 11 million illegal immigrants citizens.” The Democrats put on the floor today before and changes the Dreamers Bill to not that you had to be here before, but just by January. That he removes remaining in Mexico policy. He removes the PACER Policy. He stops the building of the wall. He questions of whether to keep Title 42. That’s why you put your whole family together and make this trek. Because you just listened to what President Biden said.
Kevin McCarthy: (15:34)
No law has changed by moving of Congress. This entire crisis is created simply by Joe Biden’s actions and words. And when I watched Don Stephanopoulos the other night, finally said, “Well, no, no, don’t come.” His own administration, his secretary said, “We’re saying not to come, but just come later.” He’s still telling you to come. He’s created this crisis that he won’t acknowledge, that he won’t even go visit to see, and now he’s denying press from even-
Kevin McCarthy: (16:03)
… visit to see and now he’s denying press from even to watch or see what’s happening in the border stations. These border agents are spread so thin. That $1.9 trillion had no money to help them. While I was going to this brand new processing facility, this 98,000 square feet that had just hit capacity that they never thought would happen, they’re taking their parking lot and now they’re putting up tents and they’re taking their operational money to do it.
Kevin McCarthy: (16:29)
And they’re removing agents from the border that they’re trying to protect where the wall was stopped being built from people coming over to care for these individuals. And the president denies the right to even go there and denies the right of press to even cover it. And he said in his own words, while he was running for president in a presidential campaign, “Illegal immigrants should surge the border.” That’s exactly what’s happening and that’s why.
Speaker 6: (16:56)
Speaker 7: (17:02)
Thank you. Congress is now taking proper [inaudible 00:17:03] on China’s human rights [inaudible 00:17:05], but there’s one action that they still haven’t taken off, which is forced organ harvesting from prisoners in China. There’s a bipartisan bill that’s been introduced recently by Congressman Chris Smith. And that is aiming to combat China’s own harvesting practices from prisoners, from religious groups and minorities. Would you support passing-
Kevin McCarthy: (17:25)
Speaker 7: (17:25)
Do you think China should be held accountable?
Kevin McCarthy: (17:27)
Yes. That and many more. Yes?
Speaker 8: (17:31)
[inaudible 00:17:31], are you suggesting that he has applied privately for a security clearance and was denied for that, because I believe-
Kevin McCarthy: (17:38)
No, I’m not suggesting he applied privately. I’m suggesting that the criteria to get a security clearance, that he cannot meet it based upon the information in the public today. It’s not what I’m implying. You talk to the intelligence community and others, they’re the ones who set the criteria and told me he couldn’t make it.
Speaker 8: (17:54)
Do you believe that any Democrats will sign on to this, given that the FBI concluded there was no wrongdoing and was cooperative?
Kevin McCarthy: (18:01)
Wait, wait, wait? The FBI told you that?
Speaker 8: (18:03)
It’s in the public.
Kevin McCarthy: (18:04)
I think you should have a different briefing if you are allowed to have one.
Speaker 9: (18:08)
Mr. Leader, the Iowa race. In your view, what is different between the efforts there to overturn the elections in the House versus Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the elections in Congress that you support?
Kevin McCarthy: (18:20)
Well, I disagree with the premise of your question for this reason. The House race and you know politics very well. You’ve covered every day. You know what it takes to win the presidency, the electoral college. Do you know how many electoral college you have to win to become president?
Speaker 9: (18:37)
I think I do.
Kevin McCarthy: (18:37)
What is that?
Speaker 9: (18:39)
Kevin McCarthy: (18:39)
Okay. So if you challenged Arizona and Pennsylvania, would that have changed and lowered president Biden’s numbers below 270?
Speaker 9: (18:49)
You supported the Texas lawsuit-
Kevin McCarthy: (18:50)
You ask me questions every week. I just asked you a question. If you removed Arizona, but you weren’t removing it. You were just asking the question about it. If Arizona and Pennsylvania were removed and electoral college, would President Biden’s number lower below 270?
Speaker 9: (19:08)
No, but Donald Trump said that Congress could have overturned-
Kevin McCarthy: (19:11)
Wait. I’m not Donald Trump. So you’re asking me the question. I’m answering your question.
Speaker 9: (19:16)
You supported the effort, did you not?
Kevin McCarthy: (19:18)
Let me answer your question since you asked me, let me follow through. So you gave a premise that’s not true.
Speaker 9: (19:24)
Donald Trump tried to overturn the results in Congress and you supported that effort.
Kevin McCarthy: (19:28)
Well, now you’re saying something that’s not sure. So let me answer your question and show you how your premise is not true. You answered two questions. It takes 270. If you remove Arizona and Pennsylvania, President Biden is still president. He’s above 270. So that premise is wrong. If you go back and you look at any time forward, take the quotes of Speaker Pelosi. This is democracy. This is our chance to look at it. Look at the whip, Jim Kleiber. Look at the chair of rules. When they challenged Ohio, would that change the outcome from the electoral college for President Bush? I can answer the question for you. Yes, it would. Yes, it would.
Speaker 9: (20:12)
But in those cases, the losing candidate didn’t organize a rally and say, “Stop the steal. We can overturn the certification of the electoral college on January 6th.”
Kevin McCarthy: (20:23)
Oh, do you want to talk to Trump or you want to ask me the question?
Speaker 9: (20:26)
Did you not his efforts?
Kevin McCarthy: (20:26)
Because I’m here right now and I’m showing where your question doesn’t hold merit. Now, let me show you another answer to your question.
Speaker 9: (20:33)
You supported the Texas lawsuit too. Do you regret supporting that lawsuit?
Kevin McCarthy: (20:36)
No, no, no. I don’t. You know why? Because it’s going to-
Speaker 9: (20:39)
And the results of a number of battleground states?
Kevin McCarthy: (20:41)
All right. Tell me when you’re done with your questions and when I can answer. Are you done? Can I answer now?
Speaker 9: (20:45)
Kevin McCarthy: (20:46)
Okay. Now, which question did you want me to answer?
Speaker 9: (20:48)
Do you regret signing on to the Texas lawsuit that would have invalidated millions of votes across several battleground states?
Kevin McCarthy: (20:54)
So that’s your question. Should I supported Texas law… The answer is yes. You know why? Because that’s where you go to the courts. Now, let’s frame that since you just asked me that question, let’s put that since you mixed it with the congressional question, did the Democrat member… She’s not a member, candidate go to the courts or go to Congress, because the system says she could go to the courts. Did she go there?
Speaker 9: (21:20)
She did not go to the courts, she came to Congress.
Kevin McCarthy: (21:23)
And what was her answer of why she came to Congress and not go to the courts, like the system says she should? Do you know what her answer was?
Speaker 9: (21:30)
It’s because she didn’t have time.
Kevin McCarthy: (21:31)
No, no, no, no, no. She did not say she didn’t have time. Do you know what she said? Because that’s the place I can get the outcome I want. That’s what she said. So the premise of your question, does it work?
Kevin McCarthy: (21:43)
So if your premise of the question of going to the courts, she didn’t go to the courts. Did she win it on election day? No. Did she win in the recount? No. The Speaker Pelosi say it’s just six votes. She’s got six members that’s going to disenfranchise the more than 400,000 people that voted in that district. Pure politics. So what I believe, because you study politics so well, don’t mistake things that aren’t the same.
Speaker 9: (22:09)
Did you or did you not support Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election in Congress?
Kevin McCarthy: (22:13)
Didn’t we just answer this the first time you asked it? You even answered it. How many electoral votes is [crosstalk 00:22:19]?
Speaker 9: (22:19)
But sir, you didn’t ever raised any concerns about Donald Trump’s efforts to organize the rally to say that he could stop Congress.
Speaker 10: (22:28)
[crosstalk 00:22:28] other people in the room? Anyone?
Kevin McCarthy: (22:30)
No, he does this every time. Let me ask you this. Have you ever asked me a question on a bill coming to the floor?
Speaker 9: (22:42)
I’m sure I have, yeah.
Kevin McCarthy: (22:42)
Speaker 9: (22:42)
Kevin McCarthy: (22:43)
You have? What was it? I have forgot. You asked me the same question the same time in the same place. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. And nine times out of 10, you have it wrong. So I answered your question. It’s nice to have you here.
Speaker 3: (22:55)
Do you agree or disagree with Trump when he said the other day on Fox, “Our Supreme Court and our courts didn’t have the courage to overturn elections?”
Kevin McCarthy: (23:05)
I didn’t see it.
Speaker 3: (23:06)
Do you agree or disagree with that? It’s a simple question, sir?
Kevin McCarthy: (23:10)
What’s the question? You asked me, did I agree with what Trump said? I didn’t see what Trump said.
Speaker 3: (23:15)
You have a statement. Do you agree or disagree with it?
Kevin McCarthy: (23:17)
What’s the statement?
Speaker 3: (23:19)
“Our Supreme Court and our courts didn’t have the courage to overturn election.”
Kevin McCarthy: (23:22)
No, I don’t agree with that.
Speaker 3: (23:23)
Why not? Why not?
Kevin McCarthy: (23:26)
You asked me if I agree or disagree. I don’t agree with what his answer was. That’s fine. I answered your question. Go ahead.
Speaker 11: (23:32)
The White House apparently is weighing breaking up its infrastructure package into three parts to build bipartisan support. Do you like that idea? Could that help attract Republican support?
Kevin McCarthy: (23:43)
I got to know what’s in the bill. If you break a bill up, it doesn’t matter if it’s in five parts, three parts, or one part. It’s what’s in the bill determines whether we’ll support it or not.
Speaker 11: (23:52)
They were talking about break down some of the roads and bridges stuff, perhaps that could-
Kevin McCarthy: (23:56)
I’d have to see it first, but mainly what’s in it. I mean, are they going to try to do Green New Deal in one, bridges… I don’t know. I don’t know what they’re-
Kevin McCarthy: (24:03)
Do green new deal in one and bridges… And I don’t know. I don’t know what they’re thinking. I don’t even know, if I listen to Bernie Sanders, who’s the chair over in the budget committee of the Senate, he says he wants to do reconciliation again. Which means they don’t want it to be a bipartisan. I listened to President Biden’s say at the inaugural he wanted to find bipartisan, and I haven’t seen any of that. He can’t even have a meeting on a crisis of a border he created. Yes.
Speaker 8: (24:27)
I want to go back to what you mentioned about [inaudible 00:24:30] you’ve been pointing to what in the public. And then when I’ve mentioned about the FBI’s inclusions being in the public, you suggested that there might be some other reports that I should see. Are you saying that something [crosstalk 00:24:39]
Kevin McCarthy: (24:40)
You can’t see it. It’s classified. I can’t talk about what I learned in classified briefing, but I do know the Speaker heard the same thing I heard.
Speaker 8: (24:46)
And do you expect any Democrats to sign on to this?
Kevin McCarthy: (24:51)
I would expect the people to hold the same criteria. Unfortunately, the FBI won’t give other people briefings, but what you know in the public domain right now, this individual couldn’t get security clearance for a private sector job. Why would you put him on there? And he’s not voted on based upon their conference, just one person. So all the time before Democrats could hide behind Nancy Pelosi. It’s not about politics. This is surely about… Members know what intel committee gets to review and know. He doesn’t rise to that occasion. And unfortunately, he should not serve there. And Democrats should vote with it too. Yes. And it’s not personal about him. It’s not the right place for him. [crosstalk 00:25:46]
Speaker 8: (25:45)
Shows that he was targeted by foreign government, not that he was cooperative with it or aware [crosstalk 00:25:49]
Kevin McCarthy: (25:50)
I cannot talk to you about what I was given in a classified briefing. But I believe even what you know in the public domain… If in the public domain, he can’t in the private sector get a security clearance, that should be the basis of whether anybody can even apply to be on the intel committee.
Speaker 8: (26:10)
On what ground could he not get one?
Kevin McCarthy: (26:12)
Simply what you know in the public domain, he could not get it today.
Speaker 8: (26:19)
So how does that disqualify him personally, if he doesn’t have any cooperation, someone externally targets you, the FBI [crosstalk 00:26:25]
Kevin McCarthy: (26:26)
I cannot tell you what I was briefed in a classified briefing. But what’s in the public domain, he does not rise to the occasion to get a security clearance in the private sector. If you cannot get a security clearance in the private sector, you should not be able to be on intel. As easy as that. You don’t have to know what’s in classified briefing, but that criteria he cannot meet. He should not be able… I would not allow and I would not appoint a Republican to the intel committee that could not get a security clearance in the private sector. Simple, basic where we’re at. Yes, ma’am.
Speaker 5: (27:08)
One more quick one. Just with respect to the vaccine, I know you have called for a regular order to be restored, yet some members still have not gotten vaccinated or don’t want to. And especially now that the former President has come out saying people should get vaccinated, will you tell your members to do the same?
Kevin McCarthy: (27:27)
Yeah. I’ve always told my members to do the same. I’ve spoken to the doctor, approximately 75% of the members have been vaccinated. That’s probably more than the number that shows up to vote in person. It’s roughly 30 to 40 of the members who have the antibodies, who got COVID. If you were an impeachment manager from the House and you went to the Senate, you didn’t have to wear a mask on the floor in the Senate. The Senate, I would guess, average age is higher than the House. The Speaker or the medical doctor allowed people who had COVID to actually come into the chambers on the day to vote for Speaker. The Speaker said that she was instituting proxy voting just because of on a limited basis for COVID. The members have to sign a document, the reason why they can’t be there.
Kevin McCarthy: (28:32)
I think we’re at a different point in time when those thresholds came. And I think we’re at a higher threshold by our vaccination. I think we should change the duration of the votes. I think the proxy should end. I think we should go back to working in committee. I think bills should actually come through committee before they come to the floor. And I asked her in a letter last week, what is your plan, and when is the timeline for that? Because with every given [crosstalk 00:29:01].
Speaker 5: (29:01)
More members should need to get vaccinated.
Kevin McCarthy: (29:03)
So what’s that number, then?
Speaker 5: (29:06)
Don’t you think it should be closer to 100% or as close as possible?
Kevin McCarthy: (29:10)
Then is that our plan? And we thought of this? Why shouldn’t we plan for when we can go? Should we take down the wall around the Capitol? Should it be easier for a citizen to visit the Capitol than for an illegal person to come across the border? These are simple questions that you… If you’re a Speaker of the House, you’d have a plan. If she can’t come up with a plan, I’ll provide a plan.
Kevin McCarthy: (29:36)
Every single day, the percentage goes higher for who’s vaccinated on the floor. Why can the Senate, when they speak with not around, not wear a mask, why can the CDC now tell us as a family unit, we can come together without a mask, but you can’t do that on the floor of the House, even though more of us are vaccinated than probably the majority of the United States? And why were we told to vaccinate early then? I think if we’re essential, we should work, and it should be essential that we do our work. So my only question to her is what’s the plan to do that. And I would think as Speaker, you would plan those things. Do you wake up one day and say, “Oh, now is it enough?” That’s my only question. Yes, sir.
Speaker 3: (30:20)
Following on her question. If you’re essential, as a member of Congress presumably should be, shouldn’t you also just get vaccinated, just be able to allow everyone to do their jobs here?
Kevin McCarthy: (30:32)
I don’t know if I understand, say it again.
Speaker 3: (30:34)
If you are essential as a member of Congress, essential worker, shouldn’t that also indicate that you should get vaccinated as soon as possible to allow things to get back to normal as quickly as possible here, especially on the floor?
Kevin McCarthy: (30:45)
Are people not? What’s the premise of your question?
Speaker 3: (30:51)
You say there’s 75% people are… members vaccinated [crosstalk 00:30:54].
Kevin McCarthy: (30:54)
Probably higher by today.
Speaker 3: (30:55)
Presumably some of those are voluntarily not vaccinated at this point.
Kevin McCarthy: (30:58)
Yeah. There are a number of members when I asked them, not that they won’t get vaccinated, but they feel that they shouldn’t get vaccinated until their community get vaccinated. That’s a personal choice. I respect that. There are members who haven’t been vaccinated because they had COVID, because they can’t get the vaccination yet. But I think all of you would say, if we’re at 75 last week, we’re probably higher today. That’s a pretty high number. You’re all sitting together. I bet there’s not 75% of you who’ve been vaccinated. You’re showing up for work. You’re not proxying in your work, are you?
Speaker 3: (31:34)
This is my first day here in two weeks.
Kevin McCarthy: (31:35)
But you wear a matching mask with your shirt, so you’re pretty impressive. I like that. It looks good. All right. Thank you all very much. Have a good day.