House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that controversies surrounding Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia are distractions that will cause problems for Republicans as the party focuses on winning back the House in next year’s midterm elections.
“It's things we would not want to deal with,” McCarthy said at a press conference on Friday when asked if the three members are distractions for Republicans heading into 2022.
"It is things that the American people want to focus on, stopping inflation, gas prices, and others. And anything that deviates from that causes problems, yes,” McCarthy said.
HOUSE GOP TRIES TO REFOCUS AFTER MACE AND GREENE BLOWUP HIGHLIGHTS BATTLE OVER PARTY IDENTITY
Are Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene distractions for GOP winning the House in 2022?— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 3, 2021
McCarthy: "It is things that the American people want to focus on — stopping inflation, gas prices and others. And anything that deviates from that causes problems, yes." pic.twitter.com/7b6Lji5DsU
Democrats have voted to strip both Greene and Gosar of their committee assignments; Greene for her past comments in support of conspiracy theories and incendiary social media posts, and Gosar for posting an anime video that depicted him fighting and killing Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Gosar was also censured by the House in November.
On Thursday, more than 40 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus called on Boebert to also be stripped of her committee assignments over her comments about Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim, which went viral last week.
While telling a story about being in a Capitol Hill elevator with Omar, Boebert called her a member of the “Jihad Squad” and recalled a Capitol Police officer running to stop the doors from closing on them. “Well, she doesn't have a backpack. We should be fine," the Colorado Republican said in an apparent reference to suicide bombings.
McCarthy declined to directly condemn Boebert, noting that she apologized publicly and talked on the phone to Omar (Boebert said that Omar hung up on her).
“This party is for anyone and everyone who craves freedom and supports religious liberty,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said that he talked to Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer about the two and suggested that the two of them be in the room when Boebert and Omar speak to each other.
“We should lower the temperature of this Congress. We should work together and talk to one of them. If disagreements and something goes astray, we apologize for it, exactly what Lauren Boebert did,” McCarthy said.
Public feuds surrounding the members not only threaten bipartisan cooperation in the House but also cooperation within the House Republican Conference.
Greene took aim at South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace after Mace criticized Boebert on CNN for “racist tropes and remarks that I find disgusting.” That prompted Greene to lash out on Twitter and start an hourslong back-and-forth between the two on social media and in media interviews.
Greene called Mace “trash,” not conservative, and falsely said the congresswoman favors abortion. Mace, a survivor of rape, opposes abortion but supports exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Mace used the emojis of a bat, a pile of feces, and a clown to describe Greene and called her a grifter who is unable to get anything done in Congress.
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McCarthy denied that clashes in his conference, such as Mace and Greene’s public spat, would make it more difficult to govern if Republicans win the House majority in 2022.
“We’re going to be quite fine,” he said.