On Tuesday, reporters asked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy a succession of difficult questions about Rep. George Santos.
One of the questions asked was how McCarthy could support the New York congressman after discovering Santos lied about a significant portion of his background. McCarthy became irritated with the reporters and snapped at them.
“You are aware of the reason I am supporting him, right? Because of the support he received from the people in his district,” McCarthy told reporters in a video captured during a press conference on January 24 and has since gained widespread attention online.
“I don’t have the authority to remove someone from elected office purely because […] I take issue with someone or what they have said,” the House Speaker said. “I cannot do that.”
The Republican from California continued by saying Santos would only be removed if it was shown that he had broken the law through the House ethics process.
“Though it is not my responsibility. I am a supporter of the rule of law, which holds that a person should be presumed innocent unless proven guilty,” McCarthy stated.
The newly elected Republican Rep. George Santos has faced several calls to resign over his lies. https://t.co/HaQvxgUS7i
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) January 25, 2023
McCarthy gave the same response when asked by reporters why he had continued to appoint the disgraced New York congressman to positions on House committees, even though he’s been the subject of controversy after scandal in recent weeks.
“You asked me a question. When I’ve finished answering it, you’ll have the answer. You do not have the right to decide whether or not I have responded to your inquiry, right? In all seriousness,” McCarthy said.
After McCarthy made the promise Santos would “get comfortable on committees,” multiple media outlets confirmed the new congressman, who’s currently embroiled in controversy, has been assigned to serve on the committee for small businesses, as well as the committee for science, space, and innovation.
Rep. Adam Schiff
McCarthy taunted California House Democrat Adam Schiff when he was asked to address issues concerning Santos and his committee appointments.
McCarthy charged Schiff with using his position as chairman of the House Permanent Intelligence Select Committee to keep lying to the general American populace.
The nominations of Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell to serve another term on the House Intelligence Committee were recently shot down by the Speaker of the House.
I have rejected the appointments of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell for the House Intelligence Committee.
I am committed to returning the @HouseIntel Committee to one of genuine honesty and credibility that regains the trust of the American people. pic.twitter.com/ePxlbanxta
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 25, 2023
McCarthy, along with national leaders of the Republican Party, has been pushing back against requests from both Democrats and Republicans in New York for Santos to step down.
They are doing this likely in an effort to maintain their slim majority in the House of Representatives. However, Santos’ problems have become far more severe during the past few weeks.
Last week, once it was disclosed Santos lied about many factors of his life story during his election race, including college graduation and working for two major Wall Street firms, Santos admitted to having conducted in drag after repetitively denying it, despite evidence to the contrary.