House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) mocked Representatives Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) on Monday, calling them “Pelosi Republicans” after the Democratic House Speaker appointed the pair to serve on a committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot.
McCarthy’s comment came during an exchange with reporters in the White House Rose Garden ahead of a celebration of the 31st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Asked by Daily Mail reporter Emily Goodin if Kinzinger and Cheney would be punished for serving on the committee, McCarthy said, “We’ll see.”
He also said he “couldn’t tell you” when the last time he’d spoken with either representative was.
Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans on the January 6 committee after McCarthy withdrew his appointments in response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to block two of his picks. McCarthy had initially tapped Representatives Jim Banks (R., Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R., Ohio).
Both Cheney and Kinzinger later called McCarthy’s comments “childish.”
“We’re doing big things right now. We’re getting to the answers of the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. He can call me any names he wants,” Kinzinger said. “I’m a Republican. Kevin McCarthy is technically my Republican leader. And to call, you know, members of Congress by childish names like Donald Trump used to do, I guess it’s just kind of par [for the course].”
Cheney and Kinzinger were two of only ten Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection on January 6.
Pelosi invited Kinzinger to join the panel on Sunday after having previously chosen Cheney as one of her designated picks for the committee.
Both Republicans have been vocal critics of Trump; Cheney’s outspoken criticism ultimately lead to her being ousted from her House GOP leadership role.
During an appearance on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday, Pelosi defended the committee’s legitimacy despite the lack of House Republican appointees.
“I do believe the work of this committee—in order to retain the confidence of the American people—must act in a way that has no partisanship [and] is all about patriotism,” Pelosi said. “We have to, again, ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth. We will find the truth. That truth will have the confidence of the American people because it will be done patriotically and not in a partisan way.”
After Pelosi brought Kinzinger onto the panel, McCarthy issued a statement on Sunday raising concerns about the integrity of the investigation.
“Speaker Pelosi’s rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation. The Speaker has structured this select committee to satisfy her political objectives. She had months to work with Republicans on a reasonable and fair approach to get answers on the events and security failures surrounding January 6.”