‘Did You Ever Raise That Issue?’: McCarthy Roasts Media Over Lack Of Interest In Security Concerns Surrounding Democrat
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: U.S. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at a news conference in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. During his news conference, McCarthy discussed a range of topics including recent classified documents found inside an office used by U.S. President Joe Biden after his time as vice president and committee assignments for Rep. George Santos (R-NY). (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) roasted the media in a testy exchange during his first weekly press briefing on Thursday.

After fielding several questions about embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos, McCarthy flipped the script on the reporters and asked why they had failed to show similar zeal when questions arose about subjects on the left side of the political aisle.


The confrontation began with a question about McCarthy’s decision – which he had promised months before ever receiving the speaker’s gavel — to remove Congressmen Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) from the House Intelligence Committee and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“You said you’re going to let Democrats appoint their own members to the committee, but you’ve also indicated you’re not going to let —” a reporter began.

“I was very clear early on,” McCarthy interrupted. “Let me phrase something very direct to you. If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee. And you’re going to tell me other Democrats couldn’t fill that slot? He cannot get a security clearance in the private sector — so would you like to give him a government clearance?”

“You asked me questions about Santos,” McCarthy continued. “Did you ask the questions about Swalwell?”

McCarthy went not to say that, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Swalwell had been privy to information that even other members of Congress had not been allowed to see.

“He had more information than the majority of all the members. Did you ever raise that issue?” McCarthy asked. “No! but you should have. You’re going to tell me there’s 200 other Democrats that couldn’t fill that slot? But they kept him on it. The only way that they even knew it came forward is when they went to nominate him to the Intel Committee — and then the FBI came and told the leadership then, ‘He’s got a problem.’ And they kept him on. That jeopardized all of us.”

McCarthy then pivoted to address Schiff, saying that he had “openly lied to the American public,” and as he continued, CNN quickly cut away from the press conference and went back to normal programming.

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