GOP leader says Biden should suspend his campaign: It's the 'rightful thing'

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McCarthy also accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of hurting the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attempted to meddle in the Democratic presidential primary Tuesday morning, accusing Speaker Nancy Pelosi of interfering in the nominating process to harm one campaign and help another.

Commenting at a Republican press conference, McCarthy offered no evidence to back up his claim, yet still demanded that former Vice President Joe Biden suspend his presidential campaign for the time being.

"The only rightful thing of Joe Biden is to make a pledge not to campaign while Bernie Sanders cannot," McCarthy said.

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"With Iowa quickly upon us in early February, those four Senators who are running for president will now no longer have a voice," McCarthy said, referring to the forthcoming Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will likely be unable to campaign in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses while the Senate impeachment trial is proceeding.

McCarthy accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of putting her thumb on the scale, saying she has withheld advancing the articles of impeachment to the Senate as part of a political ploy to influence the primary process.

"Senator Sanders actually has a chance to win, but not now that Nancy Pelosi has held these documents," McCarthy said. He went on to claim that Pelosi intended to "harm one campaign and give a benefit to another."

Pelosi's office responded to McCarthy, with spokesperson Drew Hammill noting on social media that impeachment "has nothing to do with politics or the presidential race." Hammill added, "the Minority Leader has no idea what he's talking about."

McCarthy's office did not respond to an email asking for evidence that Pelosi was seeking to interfere in the Democratic primary.

According to an average of Iowa polls from FiveThirtyEight, Biden and Sanders are tied for the lead in Iowa, with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Warren close behind.

During the press conference, McCarthy brought up the 2016 Democratic primary, where emails hacked and released by Russian agents showed that some staffers at the Democratic National Committee supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. According to special counsel Robert Mueller, Russia released the emails as part of a propaganda effort to sow discord among Democrats as a way to help Donald Trump's campaign.

McCarthy appeared to be amplifying that same Russian propaganda at his press conference. His office did not respond to an email asking why he is comfortable spreading Russian propaganda.

And while McCarthy openly accused Democrats of interfering in the Democratic primary, he was silent about Republican efforts to rig the GOP primary for Trump. As of mid-January, 10 states have either canceled primaries or changed the rules of nominating contests to ensure Trump is the Republican nominee. For instance, several states will only list Trump on the Republican primary, refusing to list other candidates who are seeking the nomination, such as former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Although McCarthy called on Biden to suspend his campaign during Trump's impeachment trial, he did not call on Trump to stop campaigning during the trial. Trump is planning a campaign rally in Iowa on Jan. 30, just days before the Democratic primary.

The three most recent national polls, spanning from Dec. 18 through Jan. 13, show Trump losing in head-to-head matchups against both Biden and Sanders.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.