Apr 15, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Weekly Press Conference Transcript April 15
House Minority Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy held a press conference on April 15, 2021. Read the full transcript of the briefing here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Kevin McCarthy : (00:01)
Well, close to good afternoon. Good to see you all. Today, I’m going to talk about something. The Biden administration has been avoiding discussing for a couple months now; the humanitarian and security crisis ongoing at our Southern border. The United States is on track to have 2 million migrants cross our border by the end of September, that’s about twice the population of Delaware. President Biden’s home state. 172,000 were apprehended during March; the most in a single month in more than 20 years. You notice the sharp rise on the chart behind me here. The display, the CVP actually had to extend the Y axis just to accommodate this historically high number. We currently have 20,000 unaccompanied children in our custody. The highest figure since this the statistic has been tracked. Just in the past several months, two suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to cross into our country. About a month ago, when I was at the border speaking to the border patrol agents, they told me about those that they have apprehended on the terrorist watch list, when I came back and presented it in the press conference, we had Democrats, colleagues of mine actually called me a liar, challenged me because they believed they had the same security clearances I did the knowledge of what they would know. They were proven wrong. Never once apologized, but worse, never did anything to stop it.
Kevin McCarthy : (01:36)
And since that time that they had been notified, we’ve now found that two more individuals on the terrorist watch list from Yemen had been apprehended. And they weren’t together; they were on separate days. The question rises: why were they coming? Who brought them here? Who were they going to meet with in America? And what did they have planned for us? I think these would be the questions of the Vice President as well, but she’s yet to go to the border. I met yesterday with the CIA Director, talked to him about some of these issues as well.
Kevin McCarthy : (02:15)
The mountain of fentanyl seized this year increased by alarming rate of 233% from the same period last year. When I was at Monument Three in El Paso, looking just down the fencing there, the agents told us that they’ve never seen so much fentanyl as they have during the last month. Now fentanyl is considered to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and if altered, become even deadlier. We all know last year, that night 90,000 Americans died from drug overdose. How many more will die based upon what has happened on our border? Now, instead of bolstering our security to counter these serious vulnerabilities, the massive flow of have actually weakened our security along the border. By this, if you traveled there, you would get a clear feeling and understanding. If you just look at the Rio Grande Valley, 40% of the agents who normally would be securing the border, they’re not even on the border anymore, because they are pulled off the regular patrols to take care of families and children. So with all the families and children coming in, the border is even less secure because fewer people can be there to protect it, because now they’re caring for the children.
Kevin McCarthy : (03:31)
I don’t know if you’ve spoken to many of the members who have been down to the border, but some of the stories that are coming back are very alarming. One member told me the story just last week, they went on patrol at night where they apprehended some illegal immigrants. One of those immigrants was on her plane flying as she was coming back here to another part within our country. Never tested for COVID. Don’t know why the individual’s being moved to another location. I don’t know why you come into our country at any time illegally. Is correct.
Kevin McCarthy : (04:09)
Now with all these red flags, with all these problems, with everything we know that’s going on along this border, that even those leaders of other country from the President of Mexico and others declaring that President Biden has created much of this Speaker Pelosi just last week claimed that the United States is on a good path at the border.
Kevin McCarthy : (04:34)
The question, I ask the Speaker: if we’re breaking all records, more fentanyl, terrorist, and more people illegally entering than we’ve seen in more than 20 years. If that’s a good path, what’s a bad path look like?
Kevin McCarthy : (04:53)
Now Vice-President Harris who President Biden appointed to oversee the border has yet to actually travel to the border and has no plans to do so. My understanding, and the Speaker’s press conference, she gave you no plans either of the date that she would travel to see the security of our nation. Now being notified that yes, those on the terrorist watch list have been apprehended on our border. And have been, represent California like she does as well. That’s where they found two of them from Yemen.
Kevin McCarthy : (05:23)
Now, if the Democrats need a set of reality and some solutions, Republicans have here to offer them five easy things, we can do. Finish the wall and deploy technology to the border. When I talk about finishing the wall, we’ve already paid for it. We’re actually paying these contractors not to finish it. If you just look at El Paso, there was going to be 150 miles of all built. They finished 133 miles of it. They stopped midnight January 20th. Told to stop. Now there’s just openings for people to come, instead of protecting the security. Fully reinstate the Remain in Mexico Policy. Even the President of Mexico himself understands what President Biden has done, calling him, “The Immigrant President” based upon his removal, and change, and causing much of this problem. Maintain and robustly implement Title 42 authority. Require a COVID negative test before releasing any migrants.
Kevin McCarthy : (06:28)
When I was in El Paso, we had just toured a new facility that we had built about a year ago. 98,000 square feet processing facility. They built it so large, they thought they would never make capacity. That day, they met it, that soon. That 120 agents were not able to protect the border, they were there. The children that are all put together, never being tested for COVID. And that day that were there, that was notified that they were sending a 1000 to [inaudible 00:06:58], 3000 to Dallas, not notifying the mayor or others, and moving them into the communities, not being tested.
Kevin McCarthy : (07:08)
Now, I don’t believe Democrats are interested in solving the crisis their own policies have actually created. If President Biden had said Vice President Harris is in charge, the first thing you think she’d want to do is to go see where the problem lies. He believed that she’d want to solve it. There has been no legislation that changed; it was only the orders of the president himself. He can solve this problem very quickly. This is more than a humanitarian problem. The number of times you see children crying, left all alone. The agents themselves who were mothers and fathers told me a story of coming upon three children, the age of one, three, and five, nobody around them for miles, in tears. You just watched last week, young child crying, coming up to an agent. I believe his age was around five saying he did not want to be out there alone again for another night. Or a child being dropped over a 14 foot fence.
Kevin McCarthy : (08:16)
When you would question and ask those who were sitting, you asked them, “Why did they come?” They told us, “Because President Biden told them too.” Much of this could be stopped. Those who are being harmed could be protected, and just as importantly, all those who live in America could be protected, but making sure terrorists are not getting through our borders.
Kevin McCarthy : (08:45)
Now, we may not agree on much when it comes to policy, but President Biden and I certainly agree on this point, that it is a terrible, terrible mistake to make. And this may not be where President Biden believes today, but where he believed when he was a Senator, to change the size and scope of the Supreme Court. And to put it in question, if for entire decade, the independence of the most significant body, including the Congress, in my view, the most significant body in the country, the Supreme Court of the United States. I still believe that. I wish he would believe that as well. Just as we speak today, right now, I know Democrats are holding a press conference to announce that they plan to dismantle a government institution in pursuit of their socialist agenda. To totally takeover another branch of government to have control purely for a political basis. Their legislation aims to expand the Supreme Court by four seats. That makes a real difference, four seats. Ironically, it’s the same number needed to give Democrats a one seat edge, and the President Biden the power to appoint four justices. Never in my time in politics did I ever believe they would go this far. Never did I think, even if my disagreements with Democrats, I question, is there a moderate Democrat left in the party?
Kevin McCarthy : (10:21)
Does power means so much to you that absolute power corrupts, absolutely? You will change the course to capture another form within a judicial power simply to control more. And they proudly put it forth as their agenda. Doesn’t come from someone sitting in the back; it comes from the chairman, the Judiciary Committee. This is their agenda. This is their hopes. But this is what’s wrong. With that, take it up for question. Yes, sir?
Speaker 3: (11:04)
The House Judiciary Committee has oversight of the Department of Justice? So is it appropriate that when a member of that committee is under investigation by the Department of Justice, that they stay on that committee? Like Representative Gates?
Kevin McCarthy : (11:17)
Are you referring to, is Matt Gates going to stay on committee? Matt Gates is the same as any American; he’s innocent till proven guilty. There’s no charges against him yet. If a charge comes forward, that would be dealt with at that time. Yes?
Speaker 4: (11:35)
[crosstalk 00:11:35] Is there anything that could come out in media reports before the [inaudible 00:11:38] concludes, that would push you to-
Kevin McCarthy : (11:41)
That’s a hypothetical question. I’ll deal with whatever issue as it comes. As of right now, Matt Gates says he is innocent. There’s an investigation going on, and I’ll let the investigation take of itself before I take any action.
Speaker 5: (11:55)
Mr. [inaudible 00:11:55], have you spoken to Congressman Gates?
Kevin McCarthy : (11:57)
Yes, I have.
Speaker 5: (11:58)
Can you tell us more about that conversation?
Kevin McCarthy : (12:00)
I’ve spoken to Mr. Gates about the accusations, he’s told me he’s innocent of the accusations. I explained to Mr. Gates the rules inside our conference, if there was something to come forward, we’d take action.
Speaker 5: (12:11)
When did you speak with him?
Speaker 6: (12:14)
[inaudible 00:12:14] address to Congress later this month, there’s only a limited number of tickets, what’s your understanding of how the tickets are going to be split up? How many tickets Republicans are going to get? And do you anticipate that you will be attending?
Kevin McCarthy : (12:23)
I do not know anything about the tickets. I don’t know how many there will allow in there. Yes, I plan on intending. Yes, sir?
Speaker 7: (12:31)
Thank you, Mr. Leader, you’ve gone down to visit with former President Trump a number of times at Mar-a-Lago. Can you tell us a little bit about his mood, and perhaps his interest in helping Republicans win back the House and Senate? And on that note also, can you say, do you want him to continue taking on some of the leaders among the Republicans here; [Liz Cheney 00:12:58] or Lisa [McCalsky 00:13:00], and targeting them for defeat?
Kevin McCarthy : (13:02)
A lot of questions in there. Yes, I have met with the president a couple of times. He’s always fully engaged. The President engaged in a recent campaign we had to fill the seat of [Luke Lentlow 00:13:13], and in engagement actually helped win the primary early. Julia [Lentlow 00:13:18] was elected and sworn in yesterday. Very excited; first Republican woman from Louisiana, very impressive. In a 12 person field, she won in a primary 65% of the vote. Mathematically, almost impossible, people would say at times. The party was very united there. As of right now, there is a three seat majority for the Dems or really two; she could only lose two in the three. That’s the smallest has been in more than 100 years, pretty successful for Republicans in that basis.
Kevin McCarthy : (13:52)
I don’t know all your other questions that you had there, but I will tell you this too, just as I sat down with President Trump, I’d like to sit down with President Biden. I’ve actually requested meetings on the border crisis. Never had a meeting, never spoken to President Biden since he’d been in, or elected. I spoke to him many times when he was Vice President. I know he speaks of bipartisanship. I’d like to talk to him about infrastructure. I’d like to talk to him about the border crisis since he, nor his Vice President, who was put in charge have gone to the border. Been there. I’d love to discuss what we saw, what we heard from the border agents themselves, tell them some solutions, some ideas to get things done. But unfortunately, President Biden, I don’t think believes in bipartisanship. And the number of times I requested the meetings, he’s never even acknowledged it.
Speaker 7: (14:39)
So, what kind of role are you expecting the former President to play in your efforts to win back-
Kevin McCarthy : (14:43)
Like all other former presidents; they help, they engage in many different ways. Be it helping getting the word out, raising money and others. I expect no difference.
Speaker 7: (14:55)
And do you want him to quit attacking Liz Cheney and the others?
Kevin McCarthy : (14:58)
I think the best thing, the number one thing I want to have happen is make sure the next century is the American century. And I know the policies that President Biden’s doing is putting a greater damage.
Kevin McCarthy : (15:08)
If I just look around the world today in these few short months, we have a crisis on our border that we have not seen in more than 20 years, not created in any other way, but a change in administration. And I’ve just watched it; the President now has called back two ships from going to the Black Sea. I don’t know how Putin responds to that; he builds up 80,000 troops along the border of Ukraine. I’ve watched China, our adversary and Russia gets stronger. As President Biden changes the energy policy in America. I watched Americans get laid off that he ends the XL Pipeline, but does nothing to stop Northstream within Russia, even though Congress in a bipartisan basis, passed the bill to put sanctions, he chose different sanctions and a weakness. So I do know if the next century is going to be ours, we’re going to have to change administration, we’re going to have to change Congress where we have a Speaker today who thinks the border is in good shape. That’s my focus. Yes, sir.
Speaker 8: (16:16)
On proxy voting, that’s been extended through May 19th, if I remember correctly, you said that you would like things to return to normal. I’m curious A, if you think that should be the last extension, and B for the members of your own party that are using it, will you tell them at some point to stop using it, given what you want-
Kevin McCarthy : (16:38)
There’s four things we need to do; get Americans back to work, back to school, back to health, and back to normal. And I think the first place you should lead it is in this House of Representatives. More than 75% of that body has been vaccinated. There’s a number of them that had COVID, that have not been vaccinated. If you go into the Senate, you don’t have to wear a mask if you’re a manager from the House trying to impeach somebody, but if you’re in the House, you still have to wear a mask. I don’t know the difference in science between the House and the Senate. When you speak in the House, there’s nobody else around you. I’m not quite sure. I look forward to the day that when Congress changes, that you have to show up to work to be paid. That will be one of the first things I will do. We will not vote by proxy.
Kevin McCarthy : (17:28)
And the other thing that would be interesting to have happen is that bills actually go through committee. So voices of constituents around the country lend their voice to their representative, they can actually be heard and have input on bills.
Speaker 8: (17:48)
So you would not support another extension?
Kevin McCarthy : (17:49)
No, I didn’t support the creation of it. If we are essential, through all the history of America, through war, through plagues and others, even within the Civil War and capital being burned, we still showed up. This is the first Congress that can’t. I’ve watched congressional members be on a boat, and vote. With their family out on a boat. They’re still getting paid. They Zoom in for a vote. That’s appalling.
Speaker 8: (18:19)
And then, members of of your own party that are using it?
Kevin McCarthy : (18:21)
People should be here to work. There’s an exception, if there was an exception out there, I’d say Dan Crenshaw has the exception because he’s not allowed to fly. Because he has to sit face down, because of his dedication to this nation. Yeah, he was injured and his eyes hurt. That’s the person I would say would have an exception.
Speaker 9: (18:44)
Kevin McCarthy : (18:44)
Yes? Well, let’s give it to our favorite. All right, we got a list; we’re going to guess what you’re going to ask.
Speaker 10: (18:50)
Paul Ryan was speaker, his stats-
Kevin McCarthy : (18:52)
Oh, we’re looking forward? We’re going to Paul Ryan, okay.
Speaker 10: (18:55)
Can I ask my question?
Kevin McCarthy : (18:55)
Speaker 10: (18:56)
When Paul Ryan was Speaker, his staff out of the conversation with Matt Gates about professional conduct. Were you ever aware of any red flags, any concerns about his conduct when you were Majority Leader?
Kevin McCarthy : (19:08)
When I was Majority Leader I wasn’t part of that discussion, I didn’t know about that. Lots of times as a Speaker or Leader, if you have discussions with members, I guess for the privacy they have that. I did not know about that until I read it in the article.
Speaker 10: (19:23)
So there was no red flags about his conduct relayed to you at all, or to your staff?
Kevin McCarthy : (19:29)
I did not know that conversation, or I don’t know what that conversation was either about. Just what I read the paper.
Speaker 10: (19:34)
In general, his behavior or his conduct, is there anything raised to you?
Kevin McCarthy : (19:36)
You’d have to see Matt Gates. Wonder if I knew anything about what is being alleged now? No. All right. You all have a nice day.