Jeffries roasts McCarthy over Waters: ‘Clean up your own mess’

The head of the House Democratic Caucus went after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) on Thursday, accusing the Republican leader of rank hypocrisy for denouncing the behavior of Democrats while largely staying silent on the controversies swirling around members of his own GOP conference.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said McCarthy — who is pushing a resolution this week to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for endorsing “confrontation” in combating police violence — should shift his attention to the Republican lawmakers making waves this month.

That list includes Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who’s under investigation for sex trafficking of a minor, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who’s been linked to a group promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

“Kevin McCarthy should focus on his own conference, because the Republicans in the House are a mess right now,” Jeffries, the fifth-ranking House Democrat, told reporters in the Capitol. “Perhaps he should sit this one out.”

McCarthy’s resolution to condemn Waters stems from comments she made while visiting Minnesota over the weekend to protest police violence against minorities. Minneapolis is ground zero for the national debate over racial justice, given the trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with killing George Floyd, and the more recent fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by another police officer north of the city.

“We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters said. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

McCarthy, joined by a number of other Republicans, alleges that Waters’s remarks had promoted violence at a volatile time and a volatile place. With Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) backing Waters, McCarthy said he has no choice but to take the matter into his own hands.

“This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence,” McCarthy told Breitbart News. “But Speaker Pelosi is ignoring Waters’s behavior. That’s why I am introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments, and I hope that all my colleagues — both Republican and Democrat — will stand up for peace on America’s streets.”

Separately, Greene has promised to introduce her own resolution to expel Waters from Congress altogether.

Waters has defended her comments, saying she endorses only peaceful confrontations.

“I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on. I’m talking about speaking up. I’m talking about legislation,” she told The Grio. “I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation.”

Democratic leaders have raced to her defense, noting that GOP leaders had declined to punish Greene after it was revealed that she’d endorsed the assassination of top Democrats, including Pelosi, as well as racist conspiracy theories.

Most recently, Greene was reportedly eyeing the creation of the America First Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans whose draft agenda promoted an embrace of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and “the progeny of European architecture.”

McCarthy this week condemned the concept, saying the Republican Party rejects “nativist dog whistles.” He did not mention the name of the group, nor the lawmakers involved with it.

Jeffries characterized the group as “a Jim Crow, KKK-like caucus” that “should shock the conscience of every American.”

“The model of this country is E pluribus unum: Out of many, we are one. Not out of many Anglo Saxons; not out of many Europeans; not out of many Confederate sympathizers. Out of many, we are one,” he said. “That is what makes America a great country.”

A McCarthy spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The debate over Waters’s remarks arrives roughly three months after then-President Trump had urged thousands of his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight” to overturn the election results. Democrats have accused Trump of inciting the deadly Capitol rampage that followed, and Republicans say they are wondering how Trump’s language could be dangerous but Water’s was not.

“If this was said by a Republican, you know, Madame Speaker, that the majority in this chamber would move to strip that representative of their committees, and possibly move to expel them from Congress,” Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) said Monday on the House floor, referring to Waters. Pelosi, at the time, was presiding over the chamber.

Democrats are arguing a key distinction between the two episodes. They maintain that a Black octogenarian promoting the fight for civil rights based on a real history of police bias is a wholly different thing than Trump promoting the fight to overturn the election based on phantom claims of fraud.

Jeffries was quick to point out that more than 120 House Republicans had voted to overturn the election results even after the Capitol riot — a list that included McCarthy.

“When you think that Kevin McCarthy has the nerve to say something about anyone, when he supported the violent insurrection — after the mob attacked the Capitol; threatened to assassinate Nancy Pelosi; kill other members of Congress; hang [former Vice President] Mike Pence — he then came back to the Capitol, voted to support the big lie which ignited the violent insurrection, and continues to play footsie with Donald Trump,” Jeffries said.

“When you’ve got a situation where Lauren Boebert [R-Colo.] is a mess; Matt Gaetz is a mess; Marjorie Taylor Greene is a mess: Clean up your mess, Kevin. Sit this one out,” he added. “You’ve got no credibility here.”

Tags Derek Chauvin trial Donald Trump Hakeem Jeffries Kevin McCarthy Lauren Boebert Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Maxine Waters Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi
See all Hill.TV See all Video