Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s George Santos issue was put on full display as McCarthy collapsed when pressed on Face the Nation.
Video of the full McCarthy interview:
Transcript via CBS’s Face the Nation:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congress’s approval rating is at 22%, according to Gallup. The level of approval for journalists isn’t very high, I’ll grant you that. But does it make credibility worse when you put a person under state, local, federal and international investigation as your party’s representative on committees?
Speaker McCarthy: Are you talking about Swalwell?
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m talking about Representative George Santos from New York.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: We should have that debate. So let’s have that discussion. You want to bring up Santos and let’s talk about the organization, because I wholeheartedly agree that Congress is broken. And I think—I think your listeners or viewers need to understand what proxy voting is because it’s never happened because it’s never happened in Congress before.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m asking you about George Santos.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: I know you asked me a question. I ask you –
MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you can vote to try to oust him—
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: You asked me a question. I would appreciate it if you would allow me to reply. So let’s go through this because it’s not a simple answer. The Congress has split based on the events that took place in the last Congress. The American public could not come to see us. People voted by proxy, which meant you didn’t have to show up for work, bills didn’t go through—had to go through committee. So what I’m trying to do is open people’s homes to people, so their voices are out there—so people are held accountable. So now, as I was last week, for the first time in seven years, every member voted.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you can get a third of your congregation to vote to oust him, you can.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: Allow me—
MARGARET BRENNAN: You don’t think your Republicans will do that?
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: I’m not done answering the question. So, if every new person brought to Congress was elected by their constituents, what their constituents did was give the American public their voice. So all those members can serve on the committee. Now, what I am trying to do is to change some of these committees, the Intel committee is different from any other committee–
Margaret Brennan: So you’re not going to answer the question I asked?
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: Well, no, no. You will not get the question whether I will answer. You asked a question, I’m trying to get you through it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I don’t think you mentioned George Santos’ name once.
Speaker McCarthy: But you know what?
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re talking about proxy voting—
Speaker McCarthy: No, no, no. But, you know, you broke down the question that Congress started, and I agree with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, Congress—
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: But I was answering a question about how Congress is broken and how we’re changing it. So if I could finish the question you asked how the Congress broke up, I would equate every member. They are elected only by their own voters. They have the right to serve. I mean, Santos can serve on the committee, just like Swalwell, who was associated with a Chinese spy, but he won’t serve on Intel because I think–
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McCarthy couldn’t justify George Santos’ continued activation, so he tried to change the subject to Eric Swalwell. For the record, Rep. Swalwell is nowhere under criminal investigation, because Eric Swalwell has done nothing wrong.
The speaker keeps asking about his decision to refuse to vote on Santos’ expulsion from Congress, and he doesn’t have a good answer, suggesting that if the expulsion vote takes place, Jorge Santos could be booted from the House.
Kevin McCarthy’s defense of George Santos is growing increasingly twisted, lie-filled and pathetic. With a majority of just four votes, Santos is an anchor that McCarthy cannot afford to remove from around his neck.
Jason is the managing editor. He is a member of the White House Press Pool and a Congressional Correspondent for PoliticoUSA. Jason holds a Masters in Political Science. Her graduate work focused on public policy with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association