McCarthy laments distractions from far-right members

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE (R-Calif.) said Friday that recent political distractions caused by a trio of conservative rabble-rousers — Reps. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (Ga.), Lauren BoebertLauren BoebertGOP Reps. Greene, Clyde accrue nearly 0K in combined mask fines Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN Top House Democrat pushes for 'isolation boxes' for maskless lawmakers MORE (Colo.) and Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarLawmakers coming under increased threats — sometimes from one another McCarthy says he'll strip Dems of committee slots if GOP wins House Should we expand the House of Representatives? The Founders thought so MORE (Ariz.) — are things that Republicans “would not want to deal with” and result in “problems” as his party tries to win back the majority in 2022.

A pair of related incidents consumed House Republicans this week, after Boebert suggested that progressive Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSenate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Overnight Defense & National Security — DOD watchdog to review extremism screening Omar calls for closure of Guantánamo Bay prison after 20 years of 'lawlessness and cruelty' MORE (D-Minn.), a refugee and one of just three Muslim Americans in Congress, could be a terrorist.

Those racist and Islamophobic remarks were condemned by fellow first-term Republican Rep. Nancy MaceNancy MaceProtecting seniors from guardianship fraud and abuse House Democratic conference postponed due to COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta MORE (S.C.) during a CNN appearance. The back-and-forth sparked more intraparty warfare in McCarthy’s conference: Greene, a Boebert ally, took to Twitter and attacked Mace as “trash;” Mace responded in kind, calling Greene “batshit crazy.” 

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The offensive comments and GOP infighting came just a couple weeks after Gosar was censured and booted off his committees for tweeting an anime video depicting himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLouisiana Rep. Troy Carter announces positive COVID-19 test Joining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema MORE (D-N.Y.). Gosar, Greene and Boebert are all members of the House Freedom Caucus, which is aligned with former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE

“It’s things we would not want to deal with. … Things that the American people want to focus on: stopping inflation, gas prices and others, and anything that deviates from that causes problems,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol.

Pressed why he has not publicly condemned Boebert or taken away her committee assignments, McCarthy replied: “This party is for anyone and everyone who craves freedom and supports religious liberty.”

He argued that Boebert had “apologized publicly and she apologized personally” with a phone call to Omar. Then he took aim at Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (D-Calif.) and her leadership team, saying that they had not punished their own members who had made controversial comments.

“Someone on their side of the aisle said I work with the Ku Klux Klan, referring to Republicans,” McCarthy said. Omar said “the only reason I support Israel is about the Benjamins. And I never got a public apology or phone call."

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“I think when somebody does something wrong, they apologize. Lauren Boebert apologized publicly; she picked up the phone. It took a lot of effort … In America, that’s what we do, then we move on to the issues.”

McCarthy has made clear he has no plans to strip Boebert of her committee assignments, as he did to then-Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingJuan Williams: McCarthy's inaction is a disgrace Omar allies dig in on calls for Boebert punishment Pressure grows to remove Boebert from committees MORE (R-Iowa) in 2019 after King said he saw nothing wrong with “white supremacy.”

So Pelosi and the Democrats are wrestling with whether to hold a floor vote to punish Boebert — an act many Democrats believe would simply bail out McCarthy — or take up a broader resolution that condemns Islamophobia without naming names.

“Personally I feel there needs to be more heat on McCarthy; he skates every time,” said one House Democrat.