Kevin McCarthy Epically Takes Down the Media to Their Faces: ‘I Worry About You Guys’
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has deep concerns about the media — but not in the way you might think.
In a clip posted to the speaker’s social media accounts on Thursday, McCarthy told reporters, “You’ve got to be more positive about things,” and “I’m not going to give up on you … we’re going to have a press conference one day that’s all going to be positive.”
The upload came after the latest speed bump in a debt ceiling deal between the White House and congressional Republicans, as fiscal conservatives put the brokered deal in jeopardy with a House Appropriations Committee move that put spending targets below what President Joe Biden and McCarthy had agreed upon.
According to Reuters, the committee “voted 33-27 along party lines to adopt a discretionary spending level of $1.47 trillion for fiscal year 2024, which starts on Oct. 1.
“That is about $120 billion below the $1.59 trillion set out in the debt ceiling bill negotiated by Biden and McCarthy.
“The targets would maintain defense spending at the $866 billion level agreed in the debt ceiling legislation. But the plan would slash spending for the environment, public assistance and foreign aid,” the wire service added. “It would also increase spending for border security, drug enforcement and countering China.”
While this brought out all sort of Chicken Little-ing in the media, again fearful of a default by the federal government, McCarthy’s social media clip is some good advice for them: Relax.
“I worry about you guys. You always come with the negative,” McCarthy said in the clip. “You’ve got to be more positive in life. You are all Americans. You always worry every day, you come to me and say, ‘Oh, are you going to default now? Oh, you’re going to have a shutdown? Are you even going to be able to pass a rule?’
“Guys, we’ve got to be more positive about things,” he continued. “We’re continuing to work forward. We’re having good successes here.
“I keep you in my prayers,” McCarthy added, shifting gears. “I’m not going to give up on you, I promise. I don’t give up on my members. I don’t give up on you. We’re going to have a press conference one day that’s all positive. Like, ‘America is going to be stronger, that was a great achievement.’”
I worry about the constant negativity of the media. But I keep them in my prayers, and I hope one day they’ll start rooting for America to succeed! pic.twitter.com/eqTv5ceERf
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 15, 2023
But until that happens, however, McCarthy will be handling the media’s negativity toward all things Republican as it comes. Watch on Wednesday, for instance, as he dismantles the FBI’s request for $4 billion to replace the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.:
The FBI shouldn’t be asking for a new $4 billion palace in the DC Metro area when they aren’t even focused on their core missions, like cracking down on financial crime and human trafficking. pic.twitter.com/c0zZHpbVA8
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 14, 2023
And, of course, there’s the other major issue du jour: How former government officials handle classified information, particularly when it shows up in their residences. As McCarthy noted, there’s quite a disparity between how Biden’s mishandling of documents and former President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of them is being treated:
Has anyone ever asked the current president why would he have a classified document outside of the SCIF from his Senate days? Has he ever been confronted with that question? pic.twitter.com/kj6UOT2d4D
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 13, 2023
We have a sitting president who possessed classified documents dating back decades to his time as Vice President and as a Senator. Yet he is now weaponizing the federal government to go after his leading political opponent.
Where is the equal justice under the law? pic.twitter.com/5bez0yzCso
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 12, 2023
You might ask how that squares with positivity. I’d argue it fits with William Wordsworth’s proverbial “Happy Warrior,” a term most memorably applied in recent American politics to former President Ronald Reagan.
Yes, there are battles ahead. The debt ceiling deal was imperfect, a problem exacerbated by the White House’s refusal to even consider negotiation until it became clear their plan of getting a “clean” debt ceiling raise (i.e., one that didn’t involve compromise) until the last minute.
Yes, conservatives are rightly upset and slowing down the legislative process as a result. Yes, they could force both sides back to the table. And yes, the White House is spending like a drunken poker player while it prosecutes its political opposition for alleged classified document mishandling not entirely dissimilar from that which the occupant of the Oval Office engaged with.
Say this about McCarthy, though: He’s displayed a first class temperament throughout these past few turbulent weeks in American political history. To use Wordsworth’s poem, the Happy Warrior “through the heat of conflict, keeps the law / In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw; / Or if an unexpected call succeed, / Come when it will, is equal to the need: / —He who, though thus endued as with a sense / And faculty for storm and turbulence, / Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans / To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes.”
A hope that the media will one day be positive amid storms its bias creates may appear to some conservatives prone to distrusting McCarthy’s bona fides a bit Pollyannaish. I’d argue that, given the circumstances, it could be seen as positively Wordsworthian. At the very least, it’s enough to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt — particularly when it comes to dealing with dealing with a hostile Beltway press.
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