McCarthy mocks Cheney and Kinzinger as ‘Pelosi Republicans’

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) addresses reporters during his weekly on-camera press conference on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday derided Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) as “Pelosi Republicans” for serving on a committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Reporters asked McCarthy in the Rose Garden of the White House about the panel established to investigate the insurrection, specifically about Republican concerns about the lack of GOP participation on the committee. Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans on the committee. McCarthy withdrew his appointments after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blocked two of his picks.

“Who is that? Adam and Liz? Aren’t they kind of like Pelosi Republicans?” McCarthy said prior to an event to mark the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Speaking to another group of reporters, McCarthy again referred to the two as “Pelosi Republicans.” He declined to say if he planned to somehow punish them for agreeing to take part in the investigation.

“I think that’s pretty childish,” Cheney said at the Capitol when asked about McCarthy’s comments.

Kinzinger also described McCarthy’s remark as “childish.”

“We’re doing big things right now. We’re getting to the answers of the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. He can call me any names he wants, Kinzinger said. “I’m a Republican. Kevin McCarthy is technically my Republican leader. And to call, you know, members of Congress by childish names like Donald Trump used to do, I guess it’s just kind of par [for the course].”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), meanwhile, called McCarthy’s comments “absurd.”

Pelosi on Sunday tapped Kinzinger, an Illinois centrist and a fierce critic of former President Trump, to sit on the Jan. 6 panel, which is set this week to launch a comprehensive look into the causes, players and security failures surrounding the siege of the Capitol by Trump supporters.

Pelosi had previously chosen Cheney as one of her designated picks for the committee. Cheney is a former member of House GOP leadership who lost that role over her consistent criticism of Trump.

Cheney and Kinzinger have been among the most outspoken critics of Trump and his continued rhetoric around the 2020 election. The former president has made false claims that the election was rigged or fraudulent for months, despite numerous lawsuits being dismissed and multiple recounts verifying the outcome.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden is supportive of Pelosi’s inclusion of Republican members who are interested in thoroughly investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

“His goal is the same goal that Speaker Pelosi has, which is to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening in the future,” Psaki said. “And he trusts her leadership to do exactly that.”

–Mike Lillis contributed to this report, which was updated at 2:15 p.m.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Nancy Pelosi Steny Hoyer
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