McCarthy threatens to punish Republicans who accept Pelosi appointment to riot committee

1424

Just two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted in favor of the resolution on creating the select committee.

The website Punchbowl News reported Thursday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned a group of freshmen Republican lawmakers that if they accept an appointment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, they would have to get any committee assignments from her.

McCarthy's threat came the same day the House passed a resolution creating the select committee to investigate the riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Democrats moved to create the committee after Republicans blocked an independent and bipartisan commission to look into the causes of the attack and come up with recommendations on how to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Just two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted in favor of the resolution on creating the select committee. The rest of the GOP caucus voted against it, with 19 Republican lawmakers not voting at all. Some, including Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Jim Banks (R-IN), and Austin Pfluger (R-TX), were on a trip to the border to get a photo-op with Trump.

Pelosi has said that she will give one of her eight spots on the committee to a Republican lawmaker, and reserved the right to refuse to seat members McCarthy recommends if those lawmakers had voted against certifying Joe Biden's 2020 presidential election victory in the Electoral College during a session that was underway when the rioters broke into the Capitol building.

It's unclear whether any Republicans aside from Kinzinger or Cheney would accept Pelosi's appointment. Some Republican House members have said the creation of the select committee is overly partisan, even though it is the same procedure used to create the select committee demanded by House Republicans to probe the 2012 terror attack at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The language in the resolutions creating the select committees is virtually identical. The only difference is that the Jan. 6 select committee will have one more member.

If McCarthy did strip a GOP lawmaker of their committee assignments for accepting Pelosi's appointment, it would be a harsher punishment than he's given to members of his caucus whose behavior and rhetoric has been criticized as threatening or violent.

McCarthy refused to punish Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for making antisemitic comments, menacing teenage survivors of mass shootings, pushing dangerous conspiracy theories, and promoting posts on social media that called for violence against Democratic lawmakers.

He has not punished Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who has spoken to white supremacist groups and was set to have a fundraiser with Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

To date, the harshest punishment McCarthy has supported during the current Congress was stripping Cheney of her leadership role in the House Republican caucus for criticizing Trump and supporting an investigation into the violent insurrection he helped incite.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.