Last Updated on December 28, 2022
In August 2020, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sat down with the California Public Policy Institute (PPIC) and discussed a wide range of topics, including race relations. As the violent George Floyd riots plagued the nation, McCarthy parroted leftist talking points on race and law enforcement, including the notion that African Americans are targeted by police on the basis of race. The incumbent House minority leader stated that the movement provided a much needed “wake up call” for America on race relations and affirmed his willingness to work with Democrats on “criminal justice reform.”
PPIC president Mark Baldassare cited a number of internal polls on California public opinion of the BLM movement and associated “racial justice” riots when asking for McCarthy’s thoughts. A PPIC survey from the time period that found 64% of Californians believe the U.S. criminal justice system is biased against African Americans, and that 68% support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“What do you see as the federal level leadership around issues of racial injustices?” Baldassare asked.
“Well ya know, when this whole event transpires, and uhm… George Floyd’s life should never have been taken,” McCarthy replied. He went on to state his belief that the riots were in response to rampant racism present in the United States that is not always caught in camera.
“But I believe the uprising was more than just George Floyd. I think it was all those times that a video camera was not there,” McCarthy continued.
He then shared a story told to him by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), a black man and leading criminal justice reform advocate in the GOP. Scott reportedly told McCarthy about a time he was stopped and questioned in the Capitol Building while wearing an official U.S. Senate pin. According to McCarthy’s telling of the incident, Scott was asked who he had stolen the pin from.
“I think at this moment in time is our opportunity for all of this nation, as we all strive and believe we’re a more perfect Union,” the House Minority Leader continued. “Yeah we’re better than we were 100 years ago, we’re better than we were 50 years ago, but we really had a wake-up call. We can improve drastically,” McCarthy said of U.S. race relations.
McCarthy then discussed a recent meeting at the time in which he sat down with black community leaders and discussed supposed police targeting of minorities. “And I asked this question: ‘how many of you have been pulled over by a police officer in the last year?’ Every single hand went up,” he said. “To that school teacher, who kinda is just the mentor to so many in our community, she said mine was at gunpoint. Well that’s something I bet you and I have not experienced,” McCarthy said to Baldassare, who is also white.
He went on to discuss proposed police reform efforts at the time, including those from Senator Scott on the GOP side of the aisle.
“Tim Scott took this up knowing that the life that he has led, to get police reform, and we were so close,” he said. “And this is the difference between the House and the Senate. In the Senate, you gotta have 60 votes before you can even bring the bill up. He offered more than 20 amendments, however many amendments you want, let’s just bring the bill up so we can move forward; that was denied,” McCarthy said of Scott’s criminal justice reform efforts.
“In the House, you’ll find with me as leader, I never criticized the Democrat bill,” he continued. “I’d be in a press conference every week and they’d say, ‘tell me the one thing you dislike.’ I said I’m not going to because I wanna find a solution at the end of the day.”
McCarthy has faced stiff resistance in his quest to again become U.S. Speaker of the House, with his detractors pointing to his past concessions to the radical left and unwillingness to go the extra mile for Trump/MAGA candidates.
In addition to his parroting of far-left talking points on “criminal justice reform” and race relations, Kevin McCarthy was previously caught on an audio recording saying that then-President Trump should resign over the January 6 Capitol protests. He again sided with the far left in saying that Trump “bears responsibility” for the events of that day.
According to McCarthy’s biggest critics, there are upwards of 20 “no” votes on his speakership among the Republican caucus, which is far beyond the number that will place his bid in peril. U.S. Rep. Bob Good recently told Politico that he is very confident that a compromise candidate will emerge on the second or third ballot after McCarthy’s support begins to evaporate.
The new Congress will select a new House Speaker on January 3.