Despite being regularly hailed as one of the most effective House speakers in history, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was just on the receiving end of some extremely harsh criticism from the chamber’s minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who labeled her a “lame duck” who is unfortunately conducting herself accordingly, as Fox News reports.
During an appearance on the network’s Sunday Morning Futures over the weekend, McCarthy blasted Pelosi for decamping for Europe when she should be working on addressing the supposed debt ceiling crisis that, while temporarily alleviated with help from the GOP, will rear its head again in December.
“Where was she last month when the Democrats were working on reconciliation? The U.K?” asked McCarthy, who further noted, “she’s back in Europe when she’s supposed to be concerned about the debt ceiling,” referencing several stops Pelosi has made on the continent in recent days, including one to see Pope Francis at the Vatican.
As Fox News reported, while abroad, Pelosi has taken part in the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit featuring, according to the speaker’s office, “important presentations on coordinating international coronavirus response efforts, national security issues and united action on climate.”
McCarthy points to these activities and others as evidence that Pelosi is on her “farewell tour,” also emphasizing that in the reconciliation bill still being championed for passage by Democrats, she included “$200 million from our hard-working taxpayers for a park in her district,” perhaps as a way to help further her legacy.
Broadening his criticism of the speaker beyond her conduct in recent weeks, McCarthy lamented the overarching tenor of Congress under Pelosi’s leadership, saying that she has “desecrated” the chamber by making it “almost impossible for the minority to get documents from the Biden administration” including on issues as significant as the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
McCarthy also took Pelosi to task for implementing proxy voting in the House whereby, as the minority leader put it, “there are Democrats that have not shown up for work for months, but they still get their paycheck,” while at the very same time, the speaker is imposing fines on members of “up to $5,000 if they just walk through the wrong door going to the chambers,” referencing new security regulations implemented after the Jan.6 Capitol protests.
McCarthy’s claim that Pelosi’s actions may be explained by the fact that she is likely on her way out as House speaker is a credible one, given the strong signs that Republicans are poised to retake control of the lower chamber in the 2022 midterm elections, a development that would likely propel the current minority leader into the seat of power himself.
In addition, after dodging the question for some time, Pelosi herself seemed to indicate late last year that she would indeed abide by the terms of a compromise reached with the progressives in her party to limit her tenure in control of the chamber, and while conservatives everywhere would certainly herald her departure, it stands to reason the Democrats’ choice to replace her could be someone even more dangerous.