House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he’ll keep his word and won’t allow three Democrats on House committees if he serves as speaker next year.
McCarthy told Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo on Sunday that Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) would be stripped of their committee posts if he becomes House speaker in January.
McCarthy’s comments come less than a week after House Republicans nominated him as speaker in a closed-door session as the party — despite the lack of a “red wave” in the midterm elections — is set to hold a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives during the next Congress.
Earlier this year, McCarthy called for the removal of the three Democrats from committees in a promise that Swalwell said was “purely for retaliation purposes” following House votes to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from committees in recent years.
The California Republican said on Sunday that he’ll deliver on his promise before criticizing the group of Democrats.
“Eric Swalwell cannot get a security clearance in the public sector. Why would we ever give him a security clearance in the secrets to America? So I will not allow him to be on intel,” said McCarthy, appearing to refer to a report connecting the California Democrat to a Chinese intelligence operative. Swalwell has not been accused of wrongdoing.
“You have Adam Schiff who had lied to the American public time and again. We will not allow him to be on the intel committee either. And you look at Congresswoman Omar, her antisemitic comments that have gone forward, we’re not going to allow her to be on foreign affairs,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy has said that Schiff, as chair of the Intelligence Committee, has politicized the panel and used his position to lie. His comments about Omar appear to be related to the Minnesota lawmaker’s criticism of Israel.
Omar addressed McCarthy’s vow in a statement Monday and said he hasn’t addressed his party’s “open hostility towards religious minorities.”
“McCarthy’s effort to repeatedly single me out for scorn and hatred — including threatening to strip me from my committee — does nothing to address the issues our constituents deal with,” Omar wrote.
“What it does is gin up fear and hate against Somali-Americans and anyone who shares my identity, and further divide us along racial and ethnic lines.”
McCarthy’s vow to take Democrats off committees comes roughly a month after he reportedly told Greene and Gosar that they’d have better assignments on committees following their previous removals.