The trio of House Democrats — Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar — booted from a pair of high-profile committees by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have decried the Republican leader’s actions as “political vengeance.”
“It’s disappointing but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of the Congress, and harming our national security in the process,” Schiff, Swalwell and Omar said in a joint statement.
“He struck a corrupt bargain in his desperate, and nearly failed, attempt to win the Speakership, a bargain that required political vengeance against the three of us,” the three said, referring to the tense negotiations that led to McCarthy being elected speaker on the 15th ballot earlier this month.
McCarthy (R-Calif.) formally announced late Tuesday that Schiff and Swalwell, both of California, would not be on the House Intelligence Committee, rejecting Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ plea over the weekend to reappoint them to the prominent panel.
Omar, of Minnesota, had been a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
McCarthy, who has repeatedly vowed to remove the trio from their respective panels, wrote in his letter to Jeffries that he “cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of the national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership to this essential committee. Integrity matters more.”
The speaker went on to say that he was committed in the new GOP-led Congress “to returning the Intelligence Committee to one of genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people.”
McCarthy has long criticized Schiff, the former chair of the Intelligence Committee during the first impeachment against former President Donald Trump, for lying to the “American public again and again.”
Schiff on Twitter said removing him from the committee is “petty, political playback” for investigating Trump.
“If he thinks this will stop me, he will soon find out just how wrong he is,” he said in the posting. “I will always defend our democracy.”
In March 2021, McCarthy introduced a resolution in Congress to remove Swalwell from the intel committee because of his ties with suspected Chinese spy Christina Fang.
The resolution was defeated by the then-Democratic-led House.
Fang cozied up to a number of elected officials across the country, including Swalwell, in her effort to infiltrate the US political system.
Swalwell was never accused of any wrongdoing.
McCarthy has blasted Omar, a member of the so-called “Squad” with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for making anti-semitic and anti-American comments.
Notably, Omar has compared the US and Israel to terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Taliban and suggested American lawmakers who support the Jewish state are in the pay of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee