California Congressman Kevin McCarthy carried out at least three southern border photo-ops while he was the Republican House minority leader in the previous Congress, visiting the region in March 2021, then the following April, then again in November. During all of them, he lied and gesticulated and complained, which is much easier to get away with when you’re in the minority.
But now that he’s House speaker for as long as he remains in the good graces of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, he’s still only got border theatrics to offer. McCarthy is today leading yet another GOP delegation to the region. Numerous outlets report the obvious, which is that it’s his first as speaker. Sure. But we shouldn’t expect anything different from the previous visits.
RELATED STORY: Dear reporters: Please don't parrot back whatever noted liar Kevin McCarthy says at the border today
"So instead of actually legislating, the speaker is doing yet another border photo op to send a message to his MAGA critics that he's opposed to immigration as much as they are and get himself on Fox News," America’s Voice Communications Director Doug Rivlin told NPR. "Nativism has become the heart of MAGA Republicanism and the speaker and the Republican Party are in their grips."
McCarthy has a habit of organizing these theatrical performances when facing a personal dilemma, like when he was caught in a lie after denying the report that he’d planned to ask Donald Trump to resign for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Things are no different now after McCarthy was unable to coalesce Republicans around their own immigration-related legislation.
Not that that’s a bad thing; the anti-asylum bill introduced by Texas’ Chip Roy has been slammed as “not Christian” and “very anti-American” by House Republicans themselves. But the point is, McCarthy can’t govern.
What McCarthy has done is give platforms to conspiracy-spouting Republican members and allies. We already covered the racist conspiracy theories pushed during House Oversight and Judiciary Committee hearings last week. That continued on into this week, when Brandon Judd was the star GOP witness at a joint field hearing by subcommittees under the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Judd is the Border Patrol union president and current border agent who’s not only promoted “great replacement” conspiracy theory, but appeared in political ads where a GOP candidate shot at actors portraying President Joe Biden, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly.
Yup, that’s a current border agent. He’s also a damned liar, claiming that “we are constantly seizing backpacks filled with fentanyl.” But experts said that Border Patrol has identified fewer than 10 such instances in the past two years. America’s Voice, which monitored the Wednesday joint field hearing, said Judd and other Republicans used it to continue pushing the trope that this serious drug crisis is tied to migrants.
They also continued pushing the racist conspiracy theories as two racist mass shooters who espoused these despicable views have either been convicted or sentenced to life imprisonment for their heinous crimes against our neighbors. “At the hearing, Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) amplified the white nationalist ‘invasion’ conspiracy echoing the racist screed of the Buffalo shooter,” America’s Voice further noted. “This language is not casual hyperbole but dehumanizing martial rhetoric that already has a significant body count.”
The immigrant rights group noted that in 2019, McCarthy removed racist former Congressman Steve King from committees for “use of white nationalist language.” McCarthy claimed at the time that King’s words were “definitely not American.” Well, the Republican House is now absolutely festering with even worse Steve Kings. Paul Gosar, buddy-buddy with notorious white supremacist Nick Fuentes, is back on committees. Both Gosar and Greene spoke at a Fuentes event. She’s back on committee too.
We haven’t even touched on the House Republicans (including McCarthy himself) who “violated congressional ethics rules when they dodged subpoenas and other requests for their testimony or records from the Jan. 6 probe,” as Daily Kos’ Brandi Buchman previously reported. “What’s changed since then, Mr. Speaker?” America’s Voice asks. No wonder McCarthy would much rather scare Americans about asylum-seeking families.
"House Republicans should spend less time on partisan publicity stunts and more time working on solutions," White House spokesperson Ian Sams commented on McCarthy’s latest photo-op. "Solutions are what President Biden is focused on, and his is plan working. House Republicans would be wise to join him to work together to strengthen our immigration system and fund border security."
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