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House Dems Ask Kevin McCarthy to Recant Violent Threat Against Speaker Pelosi Or Resign

Several House Democrats have called on House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to apologize to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or resign after audio surfaced of him saying at a weekend fundraiser that it would be “hard not to hit her” with a gavel if he’s sworn in as speaker after the 2022 midterm elections.

The comment is emblematic of the rising tension between the two leaders since the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which a violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol and some hunted for Pelosi by name. After initially condemning the rioters and blaming Trump for inciting them, McCarthy and his leadership team have recently tried to lay blame on Pelosi, falsely claiming that she was responsible for a delay in military assistance. And McCarthy has remained close to Trump, who often insulted his political rivals in personal terms.

 

McCarthy last week blamed Pelosi for a renewed mask mandate in the House as “a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.” Pelosi shot back that he was a “moron”, further explaining: “To say that wearing a mask is not based on science, I think is not wise, but that’s all I am going to say about that.”

Democrats responded quickly, noting the threats on Pelosi’s life on January 6th, when the insurrectionists broke into her office, stole some of her belongings, and tauntingly called out her name as they marauded through the halls.

“Threatening violence against the Speaker of the House is no joke,” tweeted New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “This is the kind of reckless language that led to a violent insurrection.”

Asked about the comments, McCarthy’s office said in a statement that “he was joking.” But Democrats suggested the remarks were part of a broader problem. New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster noted that McCarthy had voted against the Violence Against Women Act, legislation designed to protect women from domestic violence that passed the House in March. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., tweeted: “There’s nothing funny about hitting Speaker Pelosi or any woman,” adding that he “continues to remind us that nothing will get in the way of his ambitions — including joking about hitting a woman to excite his small base.”

The public strain between the GOP Minority Leader and the Speaker is considered extraordinary even by congressional standards and has moved beyond the insurrection into almost every matter between them as McCarthy is eyeing the speakership and a path to regaining power in the 2022 midterms. McCarthy also withdrew five members from a select committee established last month to investigate the insurrection after Pelosi rejected two of his members, saying they couldn’t sit on the panel because of their “antics” defending Trump after the attack. McCarthy called the move an “egregious abuse of power” and the committee a “sham.”

 



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