Oct 15, 2020
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript October 15
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held his weekly press conference on October 15. He talked about Joe Biden and his campaign, saying “the more he talks, I think the stronger President Trump’s campaign is.” He also discussed relations with China. Read the transcript here.
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Kevin McCarthy: (00:00)
It was so disgusting, just a targeted attack. I know that sheriffs have a long road to recovery ahead of them, but I hope this brings a sense of peace to them and to their families. Our police officers take on immense risk every single day. And they should know that the majority of the country is praying for them and for their safety.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:21)
Today marks the 71st anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Over the decades, we have seen a communist regime who have been ruthless in their attempt to seize power. Today’s Chinese Communist Party is no closer to allowing their citizens to have freedom than they were 31 years ago in Tienanmen Square. We have seen them break international agreements, carry out human rights abuses and violate the sovereignty of neighboring nations. Previous administrations have implemented a strategy of accommodation. Let’s just look at what has happened.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:56)
Former president Obama in 2011, let me quote him. “I absolutely believe that China’s peaceful rise is good for the world, and it’s good for America.” Vice President Joe Biden, just a few years ago in 2015 stated, “We want to see China rise.” Has Joe Biden, who is the Democratic Party, changed his view. Well just last year as he was running for president Joe Biden said, “China’s not competition for us.”
Kevin McCarthy: (01:29)
It’s an interesting quote that he would make. Perhaps Democrats are comfortable with bending to a knee for China, but Republicans will not gamble with our economy or our national security. That is why House Republicans stood up a China task force back in May. The China task force was actually supposed to be by partisan. I went to speaker Pelosi more than a year ago. Talked to the Democratic leadership for more than eight months, finally got them to agree. We even had to negotiate on the numbers. Same number of Republicans as Democrats, because this transcends party. The challenge of what China gives, not only to the world, but to America, pre COVID. And we got it to the date where we were going to announce it in a joint press conference. Even the Washington Post reporter had already written up a story, only for the Democrats to back away. Over the past few months, the members of the task force work to draft a comprehensive blueprint to counter China’s threat and yesterday they delivered.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:31)
They continue to follow through on our commitment to America we laid out earlier this month to rebuild the greatest economy we have ever seen. And to end our dependency on China and implement pro-growth policies. Much like Democrats have neglected to protect America from geopolitical threats they’re also neglecting their livelihoods at home. For the past several months, there has been one common denominator stopping us from getting another COVID relief bill, it’s the Speaker of the House. But let’s listen to what she has done. We know from past behavior, every time the four leaders got together to do a COVID relief bill, we came to an agreement after speaker Pelosi had delayed it, sometimes a week at a time. When the much needed money for small businesses for their employees to stay open or to keep paying them. It was so popular that we were going to run out of money, that the speaker was warned about it weeks in advance. She proudly stood at late night television in front of a refrigerator, eating ice cream, almost laughing at the American public, by saying, she said, “No.”
Kevin McCarthy: (03:40)
She told us she would keep us in, not let us leave in August because she has the power to do that, the only one. But she let us all go. Instead of utilizing that pressure to make people come to a common agreement. But she did call us back. I was kind of excited when I heard she was going to. But was it for COVID relief? Was it to deal with those who are unemployed or the small businesses that were going to shut their doors and lay more people off? Or maybe it was for the schools that needed the resources to open back up? No, it was purely political once again. It was about a post office that already had money, post office that we know does not have the challenge with delivering the mail. It’s the States that do not have the ability to handle within the election office, all the mail ballots.
Kevin McCarthy: (04:35)
So she said, once again, she would not let us leave. I wonder if we could trust her at her word this time. It’s interesting. She decided only once Republicans had put on the floor discharge petition, which the American public, so they could understand, it’s one of those archaic rules within the House. It’s the only power the minority has to get a bill to the floor, to go around the Speaker, to get 218 people to sign. You would think it’d be quite easy to get 218 members to sign a discharge petition to help small businesses. They’ve already voted for it once before. Why deny it to go forward? Some within her own party has criticized her. So, you know what we did yesterday on a vote? We actually put it to the floor and every single Democrat voted against. So it seems Nancy Pelosi has as much power on her members as the Chinese Communist Party has on their whole party.
Kevin McCarthy: (05:34)
When I look at what her compromise bill, it was all about. Well it once again mentioned cannabis more than it mentions jobs, which I don’t think those in COVID relief believe that’s the priority they should do. Provides a massive tax break to the wealthy and you know who would get the biggest tax break of all? Michael Bloomberg. I guess that’s okay in the Democratic Party. Because he’s supplied the most money for him. A hundred million, I guess in Florida. He talked in his own debate that he bought Congress’s majority with more than a hundred million dollars. He sent them 60 million now. So I guess they feel obligated to give him the biggest tax break of almost any American.
Kevin McCarthy: (06:19)
You know the one thing it does cut back on money, to make our streets safe and secure. $600 million they cut from their original bill for law enforcement. If Joe Kennedy is… I mean, if Joe Biden is the Democratic Party and they’re cutting 600 million, I guess he does support cutting the police and defunding them. Nancy Pelosi has said numerous times that she would keep us here to get it done. That was in July. She made us wait all summer, but who did she really make wait? The small businesses that have now declared bankruptcy or those people that are employed by them, that are now out of work. Or those that their unemployment that do not get the extra benefit. Or what about the airlines? Could she not see past politics for once? Could she not close the refrigerator and listen to the American public? Could she not think that she’s above the law, that only she can go to get her hair done while others are denied?
Kevin McCarthy: (07:34)
The arrogance is appalling and it must stop. With everything that was happening from the presidential debate to the lack of action in the House I’m afraid too many people missed some critical information. I want to commend Director Ratcliffe. “I’m Bringing transparency to the intelligence.” If you read his letter, everybody in America should read this letter. Every single member in Congress should not only read this letter in the House or Senate, but we need the underlying information behind it. That we’ve been asking for more than four years that the nightmare that America was put through, if what is stated in here is correct, is unbelievable. That’s why facts need to be known. It’s not about politics, it’s about the democracy of our nation. This is probably the biggest news that has happened. And I commend Director Ratcliffe for bringing transparency out but more importantly, I ask that the members in the House and Senate can get the underlying information behind this. So we can get once and for all the truth. With that, let me open it up for questions. Yes ma’am.
Speaker 2: (08:58)
So secretary Mnuchin came back to Pelosi with a $1.6 trillion offer yesterday. Some of your own members, including Kevin Brady have brought up concerns about those spending levels and some of the provisions in that. I was wondering if you shared any of those concerns and if they are able to come to a deal on something along those lines, whether you think it’s something that-
Kevin McCarthy: (09:16)
It shows how far the administration Republicans are going where Pelosi continues to put the roadblock even higher for the option of not having something. You’ve been here this entire year, you’ve watched the four members all come… Four leaders when they all come together, we come to an agreement. This is the only time that the Speaker has tried to take all the power. And it’s the only time nothing is getting done. Her own members of her own party are writing letters to her, concerned. The only reason why she has any movement is because Republicans put up a discharge petition.
Kevin McCarthy: (09:52)
It’s interesting why she let us go last Friday at the last minute, when the discharge petition became ripe so you’d only have 15 minutes to sign it on Friday. It’s interesting why they keep Democratic staff down by the book to sign to look exactly who’s signing it and what intimidation they’re making to keep Democrats holding back. It’d be interesting to know for the American public. Why would anybody in Congress not sign? It’s not asking for more money. It’s allowing the money that is there for PPP to go to those employees who need it. They’re hurting. But do they think winning is so important to try to hurt the economy further? Because that’s the decision she’s making. It’s a calculated decision. It’s a harmful decision. It is the wrong decision.
Speaker 3: (10:47)
If a deal is reached it’s going to be at least $1.6 trillion. And your members are concerned about that price tag. Senate Republicans are concerned about going higher than $1 trillion. If a deal is reached today or potentially this week, can you guarantee that your members are going to support that?
Kevin McCarthy: (10:58)
No, you can’t ever say what people on the Democrat side or the Republican side until you see what’s in it. Is there a liability protection? Are the schools going to be protected from being sued or the small businesses? Because the Democrats never proposed that. Is this just more money into cannabis and not to jobs. I mean, what is the priority of the underlying… There are so many problems within the Democratic bill, is why it’s gone nowhere and why Pelosi continues to hold on for a false hope that nobody will support. She had 14 of her own party vote against it. I bet there’d be further now. So the real question is what is inside the ability to do it? There is lots of money still sitting out there that’s already appropriated, almost a trillion dollars or more, that we can get to the American public, to the states, to the schools, to the unemployed. But it’s only been held up because of Nancy Pelosi. Yes.
Speaker 4: (11:51)
Before I ask my question, just to clarify, do you support the $1.6 trillion offer that Mnuchin made?
Kevin McCarthy: (11:56)
I haven’t seen it all yet.
Speaker 4: (11:57)
Okay. I want to ask about the debate and specifically, would you have any advice for the president going forward in the next debate? Is there anything you think he should do differently? Do you think the attacks on Joe Biden’s sons for example, was a bridge too far? I mean, what is your advice to the president there about how he should tackle this next debate?
Kevin McCarthy: (12:15)
First, if you ask me about the debate. President Trump won the debate. Could it be more productive? Actually, my best advice is let Joe Biden talk. He is the Democratic Party. His ideas are far long gone. I think the more he talks, the more the American public would decide they don’t want Joe Biden. Is there a reason why he puts a lid on almost most of his days? Is there a reason why he has hidden and not communicated? Is there a reason why he won’t tell the American public who he’d appoint to the Supreme Court justice? Candidate Trump did that before the last election. So the public knew ahead of time.
Speaker 4: (12:59)
Do you think it was a mistake not just letting Joe Biden speak more and letting the public-
Kevin McCarthy: (13:03)
I don’t know if it was a mistake, but I’d let him speak all he wants. Every time Joe Biden… And maybe that’s why the campaign puts a lid on it about every… What’d he do in the two weeks prior, half of all the days were put a lid on by 10:00 AM. Joe Biden usually gets in trouble, not by somebody asking a question, but just by a his talking. So the more he talks, I think the stronger President Trump’s campaign is. Then just run on the facts, run on the record. You know, Joe Biden has a long record, 47 years inside the Senate. Put that in perspective. When Joe Biden went to the Senate, there were people in the Senate who were born in the 1800s.
Kevin McCarthy: (13:43)
Think of all the things Joe Biden won’t tell you. Why won’t he? Why won’t he name one law enforcement officer who would endorse him? Why wouldn’t he tell the American public more about his son when he was vice-president? Why did you bring your son on a government airplane to China? Why did your son do business with China? Were you warned by those in the administration about what your son was doing? Now with new information coming forward, that a person very close to Putin, a wife, provided more than three and a half million dollars to your son.
Kevin McCarthy: (14:20)
Instead of just saying no, wouldn’t you want the information, wouldn’t you want to come forward? Doesn’t the public have a right to know? But more importantly, what are your policies? Because you say one thing during the primary. Now you’re saying something different. I’ve never seen anybody flip-flop more. I watched him look a woman in the eye, “Said, read my lips,” to the point of what he would say. That he was going to end fossil fuel. Then he wants to try to say he’s for fracking after he said he was opposed to it. He says he’s for a green new deal but when it’s the debate, no, it’s not a green new deal, but it still does the same effect to the economy of harming it. He says, he’s going to raise taxes on the very first day.
Kevin McCarthy: (15:03)
He also said some very damaging things as well. He also said he thinks poor people are just as smart as white people. Or white kids, I think, to be exact, that’s offensive. He also stood as vice-president and went to a former KKK’s funeral. Speaking, very highly of him. Along with speaker Pelosi. So yes, I would let Joe Biden talk more. And if I was president Trump, just say what you have done. The strongest economy in the history of the nation. You compare directly across from the failures of the Joe Biden, Obama administration. He reformed the VA, where hundreds of thousands were harmed and died because of the lack of ability even to get an appointment. He rebuilt the military. There is record after record, which president Trump has to run on. And I think it’s the strongest ability to win a re-election. Yes.
Speaker 5: (16:16)
What are the chances you think the House of Representatives could decide an election. Speaker Pelosi put out a note saying that it was important for her to win state races because right now Republicans control more chambers of Congress in these States and sort of chambers in the States and stuff. So do you think that it could get to the House of Representatives to the side and should there be an added emphasis on winning these state houses and the state elections?
Kevin McCarthy: (16:43)
I’m not quite sure why you want to win the state houses. Maybe I don’t understand it correctly.
Speaker 5: (16:48)
Because it’s one, because if you-
Kevin McCarthy: (16:48)
It’s one per state.
Speaker 5: (16:49)
One vote per state.
Kevin McCarthy: (16:50)
It’s the members of Congress who vote, is it not?
Speaker 5: (16:53)
She was explaining early this morning that it could go at one point to where each state gets one vote. So California with 53, [crosstalk 00:17:01]…
Kevin McCarthy: (17:02)
But that’s not a state house. A state legislative body is in Sacramento. The 53 members who represent California is a federal office in Congress. So I understand she’s talking about a state house, but that’s a whole different subject. The way the rules read in the constitution, it comes to the House only if it’s a tie. Which is really hard to do, but maybe it’s possible. It’s probably more possible back in 1980, because there was a third party candidate. I don’t see a third party candidate, so it’s voting for one or the other. So probably pretty difficult to get a tie.
Kevin McCarthy: (17:39)
But if it comes to the House, each state gets one vote. So the makeup… So you have some states that only have one representative, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana. And then if you look at the number of parties, but by the number of States, Republicans have more States than Democrats, even though we’re in the minority. But it takes 26 ever to become president and the Senate picks the vice-president. There’s also a factor in there if it can’t get to that point, the Speaker could become president, but they’d have to resign that position as well. I know she has such hatred for this president that she tries to find every avenue, but I’m not quite sure she understands the ramification of how it works. But I think it’s not very likely that it does come to the House.
Speaker 5: (18:27)
Can I go back here, the letter that you had mentioned from director Ratcliffe, the timing right before the first debate. The Senate, the bipartisan… I mean, excuse me. The Senate Republican led intelligence committee dismissed that early on. It was-
Kevin McCarthy: (18:40)
They didn’t dismiss it.
Speaker 5: (18:41)
… rushing. Reporting from sources on the committee said that that it was-
Kevin McCarthy: (18:46)
They didn’t have this information. So what I would like you to go is go to any member, the intel committee, House and the Senate. I happen to be a member of gang of eight. I never knew any of this. This is why this is so important. Don’t bring into timing. If you want to bring into timing, read in this letter when this stuff was transpiring. Let’s look here July 26, 2016. September, 2016. Very interesting things being said here on that timing. People have been requesting this information and underlying information for the last four years because they’ve been investigating this.
Kevin McCarthy: (19:28)
The real question would lie is who’s been holding this information up from the members of Congress and the Senate. Why did we put the American public through so much? Why is it just now we’re getting this information. Ratcliffe should be commended for bringing out transparency. That’s exactly what he said he would do in the job. And that’s what he’s doing. The question for anybody in the Senate or the House should be, “I want to see the underlying info and why were we denied that info all this time?” I asked Devin Nunes, who was the chair of the Intel. Had he seen this information? You should go ask him. It’s his birthday today too. So we should wish him happy birthday if you talk to him?
Speaker 4: (20:12)
What do you think, on a scale of 1 to 10, the chances are of a bi-partisan deal on Coronavirus aid, at this point. What’s your-
Kevin McCarthy: (20:20)
Is Nancy Pelosi still involved?
Speaker 4: (20:21)
She is still involved.
Kevin McCarthy: (20:22)
I’d give you a low number. If you put the four leaders in the room, or if you put a few other people from the Democratic Party, we’d get one today.
Speaker 4: (20:30)
What about Meadows, do you think he increase or decreases those chances.
Kevin McCarthy: (20:33)
I think Meadows could [inaudible 00:20:37]. Meadows was a part of the other ones as well.
Speaker 4: (20:38)
He was, which ones?
Kevin McCarthy: (20:40)
There’s one common denominator that has failed every time [inaudible 00:20:43] has had it delayed. Yeah, when we did one of the bills, he was already chief. He helped it. Speaker Pelosi. You’ve been here. You’ve reported it. Do you remember that Sunday that we all came back the four leaders. Do you remember what Schumer said, just the day before, like the deal was done. Then we sat in the room and Nancy blew it up for a week. Really not changing the deal, but getting more money for the arts. Then you remembered after we got the PPP, her stopping more money for it. It wasn’t asking for any new legislation, was just putting more money in because it’s so successful, saved more than 50 million jobs. The question has to go to the speaker, now. Are you doing this for political reasons? Do you want America to hurt so bad to try to get some advantage in an election.
Speaker 4: (21:40)
Or do you think that they’re holding out for a potential president Biden? Do you think that’s the strategy for them?
Kevin McCarthy: (21:45)
what benefit would that be? How many more people would be unemployed? The president from the very beginning has been supportive of getting an agreement. It’s only been one person holding it up. So it’s easy to realize everything about her is politics. She ought to maybe not get her hair done all by herself, but listen to the people who’ve been unemployed. Listen to the people who own that shop, who’ve been closed for so long, who need the PPP. Listen to the people who need the unemployment. And if she wants to put a red line, then go ask Steny Hoyer why he said that’s not a red line. The Republicans are actually right about that. That all states are not equal. So any point that she makes is really just a political point to stop something. Instead of finding a reason to put people before politics, that’s all we’re asking. So if Speaker Pelosi is not involved, we’d get it done. Her own people know that as well, you all have a nice week.