Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich praised Kevin McCarthy, who has the inside track to follow in his footsteps, for announcing his plan to oust hard-core leftist Democrats from key House committees if he wields the gavel next year.
Gingrich, the onetime Georgia congressman who ran the House from 1995-1999, told Fox News Monday that current Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the first to purge committees of lawmakers perceived as extreme. By declaring Ilhan Omar, D-MN, and California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell unfit for committee roles, McCarthy is just following her lead, Gingrich said.
“I think Nancy Pelosi set the precedent,” said Gingrich, whose 1994 Contract with America led the GOP to a 54-seat gain and its first house majority in 40 years. “She did something that had never been done before and reached into the minority party to decide who could and could not serve on some committees.
“I think Kevin McCarthy is following her precedent,” Gingrich said. “So the Democrats have nothing to complain about because they started this dance and frankly, the three people he’s picked so totally deserve being kicked off committees.”
Pelosi and fellow House Democrats last year voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R-GA), from the Education and Budget committees because of her prior statements on conspiracy theories including QAnon. Eleven Republicans went along with the vote, although other Republicans said Greene’s objectionable statements had preceded her election.
McCarthy, the current House Minority Leader, is poised to become Speaker after Republicans took a majority of House seats in last week’s midterm elections. He told Fox News on Sunday that he would bar Schiff, who spread disinformation about the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, and Swalwell, who allegedly had an affair with a Chinese spy, from serving on the House Intelligence Committee.
“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,” McCarthy said. “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.”
A day earlier, McCarthy had reiterated a previous vow not to allow Omar to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her past anti-Semitic statements in which she compared the U.S. and Israel to the Taliban.
“You know I made another promise to you last time,” said McCarthy, who spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2022 leadership meeting in Las Vegas. “There was this congresswoman, Ilhan Omar. I remember what she said about me. I remember what she said about Israel. I remember what she said about the [U.S.-Israel] relationship. I remembered it so much, I promised you last year she would no longer be on foreign affairs. I’m keeping that promise.”
Gingrich said McCarthy is on solid ground keeping Democrats he considers untrustworthy off of key committees.
“Adam Schiff made a career out of lying to the American people while serving as chairman of the Intelligence Committee without any question, just plain, flat-out lying,” Gingrich said. “Swalwell has had a relationship with a Chinese communist; that’s unimaginable for somebody who’s going to have security clearance. And of course, Omar is a viciously anti-Israel, anti-Semitic orator who has consistently violated the norms of civilized behavior.”
“So I think those are three pretty good targets. And I commend Speaker-designate McCarthy for taking them head-on,” Gingrich added.