November 30, 2022

ELECTION EVE: Kevin McCarthy outlines a vindictive Republican agenda

ELECTION EVE: Kevin McCarthy outlines a vindictive Republican agenda

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When House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked how he’d tone down partisan rhetoric and address political violence, he responded by promising to blame the president. McCarthy expects to be House Speaker after midterm elections are settled, and is already assuring his base that, if he’s given the top position, he’ll use it to point fingers across the aisle instead of addressing his party’s problems with violence.

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The U.S. has seen an increase in political violence, and while there are incidents across the political spectrum, there’s a very clear delineation. From the 2016 campaign rally where Donald Trump said he’d pay legal bills for attendees who assaulted protestors, there’s been a clear increase in right-wing violence.

In the last several months alone, there has been a violent attack directed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an attempt to breach an FBI office, and numerous violent threats against individuals who’ve given testimony to the January 6th Committee. When asked to address this, GOP leaders have responded with more verbal attacks on Pelosi, the FBI, and the House Select Committee; and with lukewarm “both sides” statements, drawing false equivalencies to riots that broke out over racial injustice.

McCarthy was asked how, as House Speaker (if he is granted that position in the new Congress), he’d respond to political violence, and his answer was a promise to immediately engage in blame games, pointing fingers at President Joe Biden and at Pelosi herself.

From the CNN interview:

“What happened to Paul Pelosi is wrong…First thing, I’ll ask the president not to call half the nation idiots, or challenge them, or say things about them simply because they have differences of opinion,” McCarthy said.

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McCarthy seems to be referring to an incident in which Biden responded to a heckler by saying, “Everyone’s entitled to be an idiot,” conflating that with multiple times that the president has addressed ideological problems within the MAGA subset of the Republican Party, and inflating it to “half the nation,” despite no evidence that half of Americans identify with or support extremism.

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He went on to hint that Pelosi herself was somehow responsible, saying, “I think leadership matters, and it probably starts with the president, and it’ll start with the Speaker as well.”

Even pressed to address his own party specifically, McCarthy shrugged off the question, insisting, “I’ve seen it on both sides of the aisle.”

More of his interview can be seen below, including hints that he’ll support a glut of hearings attacking the Biden Administration on COVID-19, educational policy, Afghanistan, and more.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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