Mr McCarthy has vowed to remove Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in one of his first major moves as House speaker. He also said he wanted to kick Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, from the House Intelligence Committee.
“Swalwell can’t get a security clearance in the private sector. I’m not going to give him a government security clearance,” Mr McCarthy told Punchbowl News. “Schiff has lied too many times to the American public. He should not be on Intel.”
The three House Democrats brushed off the newly installed speaker’s threats to remove them from their committees.
Republicans have long disliked Mr Schiff for his role as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee during the probe into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential campaign and any ties between former president Donald Trump’s campaign.
Republicans have called for Mr Swalwell’s removal from the committee ever since Axios reported in late 2020 that a Chinese intelligence operative targeted him, took part in a fundraising activity and placed at least one intern in his office. Mr Swalwell reportedly cut off all ties to her and nobody accused him of any wrongdoing in an investigation.
In addition, Mr McCarthy said he wants to remove Ms Omar from her committees after she made comments about Israel and its influence in the United States, which many, including some Democrats, have interpreted as antisemitic.
But Mr Schiff brushed off the threats last week during the delayed vote for speaker.
“You know, that was, I think, another promise by McCarthy to try to gain support from people that were not supporting him anyway. But it shows why I think he has no respect from his own conference or the American people,” Mr Schiff told The Independent last week.
Mr McCarthy’s push to boot members from committees comes after the House voted to remove Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar from their committees. The House voted to remove Ms Greene for a series of inflammatory racist remarks and promoting conspiracy theories before she won her congressional seat.
The House voted to remove Mr Gosar from his committees after he tweeted a video of the anime Attack on Titan with his head photoshopped onto a character that killed a character with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s head photoshopped on.
But last week, Mr Swalwell brushed off Mr McCarthy’s threat on Friday shortly before the House voted for speaker for the fifteenth time.
“He should come back to me when he’s speaker,” he told The Independent.
Ms Omar similarly dismissed Mr McCarthy’s threats late Friday evening.
“Let's get sworn in first and then we'll worry about that,” she told The Independent.