McCarthy warns payback coming for Dems after Gosar censure

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McCarthy warns payback coming for Dems after Gosar censure

The top House Republican warned Thursday that Democrats have set themselves up for retaliation if and when the GOP regains control of Congress — which could happen in a matter of months.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) singled out three House Democrats — Eric Swalwell of California, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Maxine Waters of California — for potential sanctions, including stripping them of their committee assignments.

“This isn’t about threats, but it’s about holding people accountable,” McCarthy told reporters. “I think the majority is going to have to approve any of those members on the committees of which they can serve.”

McCarthy’s comments came one day after the House voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and remove him from two committees after he tweeted an anime video depicting himself assassinating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Biden.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke to reporters on Thursday.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

All three Democrats mentioned by McCarthy have been the targets of Republican outrage in recent years. Omar has drawn fire for tweeting anti-Semitic tropes, such as in 2019 when she posted that the alliance between the US and Israel is “all about the Benjamins.”

Earlier this year, Omar tweeted that the US, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban had all committed “unthinkable atrocities.” That drew a rebuke from a group of Jewish House Democrats, whom Omar later criticized as not being “partners in justice.”

Rep. Paul Gosar
McCarthy’s comments came just one day after Congress voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and remove him from two committees after he tweeted an anime video depicting himself assassinating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Gozar is pictured here in June.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Swalwell, a former presidential candidate and member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been scrutinized over his relationship with a suspected Chinese spy who US intelligence officials say was assigned to get close to up-and-coming politicians in a bid to infiltrate the American political system.

Though Republicans have called for Swalwell to step down or be removed from the Intelligence Committee, he has remained in place while denying any wrongdoing.

Representative Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar, pictured here in April 2021, was one of the Democrats McCarthy called out.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Waters, head of the House Financial Services Committee, was the subject of a GOP censure effort earlier this year after she addressed a protest in Minnesota during the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

If Chauvin was acquitted, Waters said at the time, “we got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell
McCarthy also called out Rep. Eric Swalwell, seen here in June 2020, who has come under fire for his relationship with a suspected Chinese spy.
Getty Images

The censure vote against Gosar was the second rebuke of a Republican House member this year. In February, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was stripped of her committee assignments over social media posts made before she was elected that included anti-Semitic and Islamophobic rhetoric and support for QAnon conspiracy theories.

With Republicans favored to regain control of the House following next year’s midterm elections, McCarthy said he would restore Gosar and Greene to the committees on which they previously sat in the next Congress.

Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Maxine Waters was criticized for her comments during the Derek Chauvin trial.
Getty Images

“They’ll have committees, the committee assignments they have now, they may have other committee assignments, they may have better committee assignments.” he said. “I think with Gosar, those [Oversight and Natural Resources] are the ones he wants. Taylor Greene, she was just a freshman … She has a right to serve on committees.” 

McCarthy had come under fire from Democrats for not taking action against Gosar prior to the censure vote, which made the Arizonan the 24th House member to be so rebuked and the first since Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) in 2010.

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