Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s George Santos problem was put on full display as McCarthy crumbled when pressed on Face The Nation.
Video of the full McCarthy interview:
Transcript via CBS’s Face The Nation:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Approval level, according to Gallup, of Congress, is at 22%. Approval level of journalists is also not very high, I’ll give you that. But doesn’t it further wear down credibility when you put someone who is under state, local, federal and international investigation as a representative of your party on committees–
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: Are you talking about Swalwell?
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m talking about George Santos, representative from New York.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: We should have that discussion. So let’s have that discussion. You want to bring up Santos, and let’s talk about the institution itself, because I agree wholeheartedly that Congress is broken. And I think you- I think your listeners or viewers should understand what proxy voting was because it never took place because it never took place in Congress before.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m asking you about George Santos.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: I know you asked me a question. Let me ask you–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you could put it to a vote to try to oust him–
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: You asked me a question. I’d appreciate if you let me answer. So let’s go through this because it’s not one simple answer. Congress is broken based upon what has transpired in the last Congress. The American public wasn’t able to come in to see us. People voted by proxy, meaning you didn’t have to show up for work, Bills didn’t go- have to go through committee. So what I’m trying to do is open the people’s house back for the people so their voices there- so people are held accountable. So now, as I just had in the last week, for the first time in seven years, every member got to vote.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you got a third of your caucus to vote to oust him, you could do so.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: Let me–
MARGARET BRENNAN: You don’t think you could get your Republicans to do that?
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: I wasn’t finished answering the question. So, if every single new person brought into Congress was elected by their constituents, what their constituents have done has lend their voice to the American public. So those members can all serve on committee. Now, what I’m trying to do is change some of these committees as well, like the Intel Committee is different than any other committee–
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’re just not going to answer the question I asked?
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: Well, no, no. You don’t get a question whether I answer it. You asked a question, I’m trying to get you through that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I don’t think you’ve said the name George Santos like once.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: But you know what?
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re talking about proxy voting–
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: No, no, no. But, you know, you started the question with Congress was broken, and I agreed with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, Congress–
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: But I was answering the question of how Congress is broken and how we’re changing it. So if I can finish the question that you asked me how Congress is broken, I equated every single member. They would just got elected by their- by their constituents. They have a right to serve. So that means that Santos can serve on a committee the same way Swalwell, who had a relationship with a Chinese spy, but they will not serve on Intel because I think–
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McCarthy can’t defend his continued enabling of George Santos, so he tried to change the subject to Eric Swalwell. For the record, Rep. Swalwell is not under criminal investigation anywhere, because Eric Swalwell did nothing wrong.
The Speaker keeps getting asked about his decision to refuse to hold a vote on expelling Santos from Congress, and he doesn’t have a good answer, which suggests that if an expulsion vote was held, George Santos might be booted out of the House.
Kevin McCarthy’s defenses of George Santos are growing more twisted, lie-filled, and pathetic. With only a four-vote majority, Santos is an anchor that McCarthy can’t afford to remove from around his neck.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association