Kevin McCarthy: The Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time House Minority Leader

We’ve all seen how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revels in playing power games. But Joan Walsh half-jokingly suggested that incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy might be happy that Democrats won a majority in that chamber, because “he doesn’t really want to be responsible for trying to pass the GOP’s unpopular political agenda, against the backdrop of nonstop Trump scandals, anyway. Would you?”

Recently, McCarthy complained to Fox News’s Bill Hemmer about what Democrats plan to do with their majority in the House.

“It looks like what they’re going to focus on is more investigations,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “I think America is too great a nation to have such a small agenda.

“I think there’s other problems out there that we really should be focused upon,” he continued. “And my belief is, let’s see where we can work together. Let’s move America forward.”

That came from the same guy who bragged about how the endless Benghazi investigations were so effective back in 2015.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the likely successor to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), told Fox News’s Sean Hannity explicitly on Tuesday night that the Clinton investigation was part of a “strategy to fight and win.”

He explained: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

On Monday, McCarthy showed up on CNBC to comment on the Russia investigation.

I see nothing. Everything they’ve laid out builds the case that there is nothing there. You’ve had the House, the Senate, Democrats even say there is nothing there. They wanted something to be there but there is nothing there.

You might remember that this is the same guy who got caught on a secret recording back in 2016.

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

In other words, McCarthy had reason to believe that Vladimir Putin was paying Donald Trump, but now he wants to pretend like there is “nothing there” when it comes to the investigations.

McCarthy is not only a hypocrite (a description that applies to an awful lot of Republicans these days), he doesn’t seem to know when to keep his mouth shut. Also, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

All of this suggests that the next couple of years could be very interesting.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .