Chaffetz: McCarthy should apologize for Benghazi remark

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) should apologize for his comments about the Benghazi Committee, calling them "absolutely wrong."

“I’m very supportive of Kevin McCarthy, but those statements are just absolutely inappropriate. They should be withdrawn; Mr. McCarthy should apologize. I think it was absolutely wrong,” Chaffetz (R-Utah) said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Thursday.

“We want to answer those questions, but to suggest that there was any sort of political motivation is absolutely – it’s not fair to Mr. Gowdy, it’s not fair to myself, and most importantly it’s not fair to those four families who lost those loved ones,” Chaffetz said, a reference to Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

“That’s not why we’re doing this.”

McCarthy, the likely successor to outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sparked a firestorm after linking the congressional investigation into the 2012 terrorist attacks on a U.S. facility in Libya to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's sliding poll numbers.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy told host Sean Hannity on Fox News’s “Hannity” on Tuesday. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?"

Democrats and other critics of the Benghazi probe seized on the comments, claiming McCarthy was acknowledging the investigation is politically motivated.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threatened Thursday to end Democratic participation with the investigation, calling it "unethical."

McCarthy has also faced criticism from some fellow Republicans, and the controversy forced Boehner on Thursday to defend the Benghazi panel's work.

“This investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton and never will be,” Boehner said in a statement.

“The American people deserve the truth about what happened in Benghazi. That’s always been our focus, and that’s going to remain our focus.”