House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi harmed the House as an institution and undermined the Jan. 6 select committee by choosing not to seat Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, who McCarthy chose to fill two of the five GOP slots on the committee.
“Speaker Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party’s picks for the Select Committee on Jan. 6. This represents something that has not happened in the House before for a select committee, by the historian,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said at a press conference.
“It’s an egregious abuse of power. Pelosi has broken this institution. Denying the voice of members who have served in the military – Jim Banks, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan,” McCarthy continued. “As well as a leader of a standing committee. Jim Jordan isn’t ranking of just his first committee, he’s done it before.”
McCarthy’s fiery comments followed a statement he issued in which he said Republicans will completely boycott the select committee if Pelosi, D-Calif., does not allow all five of his picks, including Jordan, R-Ohio, and Banks, R-Ind., to be seated.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said.
He said that Republicans will “run our own investigation” looking into the Jan. 6 attack.
The resolution passed by the House creating a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol required Pelosi to appoint five members to the committee “after consultation with the minority leader,” but it gave her final veto power over the members. That language is often used in relation to select committees and special commissions, but the speaker’s veto power is almost never exercised.
“This has not happened before. House Democrats must answer this question. Why are you allowing a lame duck speaker to destroy this institution? This is the peoples’ House, not Pelosi’s House,” McCarthy added.
Pelosi did say she would seat Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., Troy Nehls, R-Texas, and Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., who McCarthy also chose for the committee. But, she said, “With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee.”
Pelosi also said that the “violent domestic attack on Congress on January 6th was the worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812 and the worst domestic assault on American Democracy since the Civil War.”
The attack was carried out by a mob of Trump supporters who breached Capitol security as Congress was certifying the presidential election results. It happened shortly after a rally by former President Donald Trump in which he doubled down on his false claims that the presidential election was stolen and told his followers to march to the Capitol.
Democrats have placed blame for the attack on Trump himself and on Republicans who voted against certifying the election results, like Banks and Jordan did.
Pelosi, McCarthy added Wednesday, “made it undeniable this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility. And it shows exactly what I warned back at the beginning of January. That Pelosi would play politics with this.”
“This has always been about politics and today’s actions by the speaker just confirm that,” Jordan said at the press conference with McCarthy.
Banks and Jordan also weighed in on the fact that Pelosi blocked them from the committee. They alleged that the committee is being politicized by Democrats and that Pelosi might bear some responsibility for the security failures at the Capitol.
“She knows that we’re already asking questions in just the two – the first couple of days that Leader McCarthy appointed us to this task, that Democrats have never asked. About why the Capitol was vulnerable on that day when we had intelligence for weeks leading up to Jan. 6 that told us that something dangerous would happen,” Banks said.
“She knew we would fight back against their political game and that’s why she didn’t want us to participate in this committee,” he added. “What is the speaker afraid of?”