Fact-checkers dismantle Kevin McCarthy's latest remarks about the Jan. 6 investigative committee

Fact-checkers dismantle Kevin McCarthy's latest remarks about the Jan. 6 investigative committee
Kevin McCarthy speaks on day 2 of the 2016 RNC (Image via Voice of America / Wikimedia Commons).

Fact-checkers are pushing back to refute House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) claims about the House Select Committee. According to CNN, Daniel Dale, Annie Grayer, and Tara Subramaniam have highlighted and debunked three critical claims by the Republican lawmaker.

1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Select Committee appointments: McCarthy recently criticized Pelosi for politicizing the committee saying, "Nancy Pelosi decided, for the first time in history by any speaker, to deny the minority to even put their individuals on a committee.""

Dale, Grayer, and Subramaniam broke down how this claim is actually misleading. While Pelosi did reject two out of five of McCarthy's proposed committee members, the fact-checkers noted that she did accept three. However, McCarthy is the real reason why his selections were not advanced.

"Pelosi did reject two of McCarthy's five proposed committee members, Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, on account of concerns about their "statements made and actions taken" -- but she accepted the other three McCarthy picks, and she also gave McCarthy a chance to suggest another two members to replace Jordan and Banks," they acknowledged.

"Instead, McCarthy decided to withdraw the three members Pelosi had accepted," they noted, adding, "Even after he did so, the minority party still had representation on the committee: Reps. Liz Cheney, who had already been selected by Pelosi before McCarthy pulled out his own selections, and Adam Kinzinger, whom Pelosi selected later. Both Cheney and Kinzinger are outspoken Trump critics who have been at odds with many of their GOP colleagues, but they are elected Republicans nonetheless."

2. Remarks about Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.): McCarthy also slammed Pelosi's decision to appoint Thompson saying she supposedly chose a "chairman who starts the committee by saying the only person out of bounds is the speaker."

Fact-checkers detailed how this is yet another misleading claim perpetuated by McCarthy.

"The committee chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, did not say that Pelosi is "the only person out of bounds" from the committee's inquiry. Rather, in July 2021, Thompson expressed skepticism that Pelosi's actions were relevant to the committee's mandate to look into the facts and circumstances around the Capitol attack. Thompson didn't go so far as to declare that Pelosi was out of bounds from the probe, and he certainly didn't say she was the single person who was out of bounds."

Although McCarthy appeared to twist Thompson's words, the fact-checkers provided the actual quote he made back in July of 2021.

"Well, if you look at the charge that we have in the resolution, it says the facts and circumstances around January 6," Thompson said at the time. "I don't see the speaker being part and parcel to that. It's a free country, and people can say what they want. As to whether or not it has a place in this committee remains to be seen."

3. McCarthy's previous remarks:

On Thursday, January 13, McCarthy made multiple attempts to distance himself from previous remarks he'd made about former President Donald Trump and the Capitol insurrection. A reporter had asked McCarthy if he still stood by the remarks he made on Jan. 6, 2021, insisting Trump "bears responsibility" for the Capitol insurrection and"should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."

Now, he claims his criticism expressed on that day "went to everyone on that day."

Later, a reporter asked McCarthy if he had told "House Republicans on the January 11 phone call that President Trump told you he agreed that he bore some responsibility for January 6th, as Chairman Thompson's letter indicates," McCarthy responded saying, "I'm not sure what call you're talking about, so."

Debunking McCarthy's claim, fact-checkers wrote:

"It's not true that McCarthy criticized "everyone" in his floor speech a year ago; Trump was the only politician he singled out for criticism. (He also criticized the Capitol rioters and the impeachment.) And while there is some possibility that McCarthy was genuinely confused about what phone call the reporter was asking him about on Thursday -- though, as the reporter noted, this call was mentioned in Thompson's letter to him on Wednesday -- there was indeed a January 11, 2021, private conference call in which he told House Republicans that Trump had acknowledged bearing "some responsibility" for what had happened on January 6."

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