By Melanie Zanona and Paul LeBlanc, CNN
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has vowed to remove three Democratic lawmakers from key committee assignments if Republicans win back the chamber in the upcoming midterm elections.
Citing a “new standard” that Democrats had created last year by removing GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees for inflammatory rhetoric and posts, McCarthy told Breitbart he would strip Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota of their committee assignments.
Schiff and Swalwell serve on the House Intelligence Committee, while Omar serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“The Democrats have created a new thing where they’re picking and choosing who could be on committee. Never in the history have you had the majority tell the minority who could be on committee,” McCarthy lamented in the interview.
In response, Swalwell told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night that McCarthy’s vow was “purely for retaliation.”
“He’s targeting me and he’s targeting Schiff and he’s targeting Ms. Omar because we’re effective. Not for any other reason,” Swalwell said on “Anderson Cooper 360.” “This is the Trumpization of politics. … He’s doing it purely for retaliation purposes and he’s not even offering a fig leaf as to why he’s doing it.”
McCarthy had previously hinted that if Republicans win back the House, a GOP majority may kick some House Democrats off their committee seats. “[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has set new policies here. Those same members that I talked about in my speech … voted for these new policies,” the California Republican said in November, alluding to Schiff, Swalwell, Omar and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, also of California. “This isn’t about threats, but it’s about holding people accountable.”
“I think the majority is going to have to approve any of those members on the committees on which they can serve,” he said at the time.
Pelosi had told CNN in response that she was not concerned that Republicans plan to retaliate should the GOP win back the House. “No, we would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future,” the California Democrat said at the time.
Gosar was censured and removed from his committee seats for posting a photoshopped anime video to his Twitter and Instagram accounts showing him appearing to kill Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and attacking President Joe Biden. He eventually took the post down but retweeted a tweet that contained the video hours after being disciplined by the House.
Greene, meanwhile, was stripped of her committee assignments last February in the wake of incendiary and violent past statements that had been unearthed shortly after she was sworn in.
This story has been updated with a response from Rep. Eric Swalwell.
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