Democratic House members seem largely unbothered by the prospect that they might lose their committee assignments if Republicans take back the House of Representatives.
The threat came after Democrats – along with two Republicans – voted to censure Republican Rep Paul Gosar of Arizona and strip him of his committees. Democrats voted after Mr Gosar shared a clip from the anime Attack on Titan that was doctored to show a character with Mr Gosar’s face killing a character with Rep Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s head.
In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to strip Democratic members of their committees should they gain the majority in 2022, which appears increasingly likely, specifically naming Reps Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Maxine Waters of California and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries.
Ms Waters called for protesters in Minneapolis “to get more confrontational” during protests in Minneapolis ahead of the verdict for former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd. Republicans have repeatedly criticised Ms Waters for this and other remarks. The Independent has reached out to Ms Waters for comment.
But Mr Jeffries mocked Mr McCarthy when The Independent asked him about potentially losing his committee assignments. Mr Jeffries is often seen as a potential successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and potentially the first Black Speaker of the House.
“Kevin Who?” Mr Jeffries said in response to a question, and repeated Mr McCarthy’s name. Mr McCarthy specifically referred to a tweet by Mr Jeffries about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial where Mr Jeffries tweeted “Lock up Kyle Rittenhouse and throw away the key.”
Similarly, Ms Omar was criticised for tweeting that support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” for which she later apologised, but led to accusations of antisemitism. Ms Omar dismissed Mr McCarthy’s criticisms on Friday.
“Absolutely not,” she told The Independent when asked if she was worried about losing her committee assignments. “Because they’re playing childish games and nobody wants to play that game.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, for her part, said she was also not worried about losing her committee assignments.
“The Republicans have made clear, independent of yesterday’s censure vote, that they intend to really gut,” many of them, she told The Independent.
Republicans have also tried to remove Rep Eric Swalwell of California, whom they have frequently targeted after Axios reported last year that a Chinese spy targeted him earlier in his political career, despite the fact Mr Swalwell has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
But in a Twitter direct message, Mr Swalwell was undeterred and noted how Mr McCarthy was ignoring both Mr Gosar and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s conduct.
“With his support for Paul Gosar and MTG’s threats of violence, Kevin McCarthy continues to threaten our democracy by choosing violence over voting,” he said. “Instead of even trying to offer a defense for the violent threats of his colleagues, like a child McCarthy makes his own threats of political retribution against Democrats. The public despises chaos and wants a country of law and order. McCarthy proves every day why he should never be able to lead the House.”