McCarthy blasts Gutiérrez over 'disgraceful' attack on Kelly

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday lashed out at Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, calling on the Illinois Democrat to apologize for disparaging White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, a retired four-star general.

“General Kelly has served his country in the Marines and he is serving his country again in this administration. He is truly an American patriot,” McCarthy told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Now what is disgraceful is to attack the character of such an honorable man who has dedicated his life serving this country," McCarthy continued.

“I believe Rep. Gutiérrez owes General Kelly and his family an apology.”

It was a rare sight to see the No. 2 GOP leader publicly call out another House member from the leadership podium without any prompting from the media.

Gutiérrez and Kelly have been engaged in a weeklong spat over President Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that deferred deportation for hundreds of thousands of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Gutiérrez blasted Kelly, the former Homeland Security secretary, for refusing to stand up to Trump and called the retired general "a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear."

In another interview, Gutiérrez doubled down by referring to Kelly as a “politician, not a general.”

Kelly shot back at Gutiérrez in a statement to Fox News.

“As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility,” Kelly said.

“They can call people liars, but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back at them. As my blessed mother used to say, ‘Empty barrels make the most noise.’”

Trump has called on Congress to deal with the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients as his administration moves to phase out the program over the next six months.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will meet on the issue later Wednesday. McCarthy will be among those in attendance.