McCarthy and Biden haven’t spoken since election
President Biden has phoned Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and hosted top GOP House and Senate committee leaders and rank-and-file Republicans at the White House.
But there’s one key Republican Biden hasn’t reached out to in the 86 days since he’s been president: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). And it’s beginning to get under the skin of the usually affable California Republican.
“Just as I’ve sat down with President Trump, I’d like to sit down with President Biden. I’ve actually requested meetings on the border crisis. Never had a meeting, never spoken to President Biden since he’s been elected. I’ve spoken to him many times when he was vice president,” McCarthy volunteered to reporters in the Capitol on Thursday.
“I know [Biden] speaks of bipartisanship. I’d like to talk to him about infrastructure. I’d like to talk to him about the border crisis, since he nor his vice president who he’s put in charge of the border have gone to the border,” McCarthy continued. “I’ve been there. I’d like to discuss what we saw, what we heard from the border agents themselves, to tell him some ideas … but unfortunately I don’t think President Biden believes in bipartisanship.”
“A number of times I’ve requested the meetings, he’s never even acknowledged them,” McCarthy said.
The GOP leader, a Trump loyalist who backed the 45th president’s push to overturn Biden’s election victory, first requested a meeting with Biden in a March 5 letter that was focused on the surge of unaccompanied immigrant children showing up at the southern border.
“In the face of all of this, I feel compelled to express great concern with the manner in which your administration is approaching this crisis,” he wrote, “but with hope that we can work together to solve it.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has previously said the Biden administration is in frequent contact with Democrats and Republicans alike and is open to engaging with McCarthy on how to roll back the “inhumane immigration approach” from the previous administration. But so far, she has not committed to a Biden meeting with McCarthy.
Biden and McConnell have spoken at least twice since Biden’s election in November: The two men, who served together for decades in the Senate, spoke on Dec. 15, then again late last month on infrastructure.
Biden has also hosted at least three bipartisan groups of lawmakers in the Oval Office in recent months. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), along with Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), joined Biden at the White House just this week to discuss and debate his $2.25 trillion infrastructure and tax plan.
While Biden and McCarthy haven’t spoken yet, that may change in the next Congress. The Democrats’ majority is the narrowest it’s been in generations, and McCarthy is vowing that Republicans will win back control of the House in 2022, forcing Biden to negotiate with the GOP.
“I’d bet my house” on it, McCarthy said earlier this year.