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Tipsheet

Speaker McCarthy Calls Out Press for Asking About Santos, Not Swalwell

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

While now Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has admitted to the falsehoods uncovered by The New York Times last month--revealed over a month after Santos was elected--he still does not appear to be resigning. This is with Santos under investigation and despite several of his fellow congressman, including fellow Republicans and fellow New Yorkers, as well as the Nassau County GOP, having called on Santos to resign. Among those who are not calling on Santos to resign, however, include Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). He has also made clear he doesn't take too kindly to the press for their incessant harping on Santos, while they ignore disgraced Democrats. 

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This is not to say that McCarthy is completely giving Santos a free pass, however, especially as he doesn't think Santos should be on any top committees that were assigned on Wednesday, nor does he expect him to. It remains to be seen if Santos will serve on other committees. 

On Thursday, while speaking to the press, McCarthy drew a contrast between how Santos and Democrats are regarded. He pointed out that he would not prevent Democrats from naming their own members to committees. Reporters did ask about the exceptions of Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), as Caleb Howe highlighted for Mediaite. 

McCarthy has made clear for months now that he would be removing these members from committees once Republicans took the majority, and for cause. That he has moved ahead to do so is not surprising, yet still draws outrage from the members in question and questions from the press.

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When it comes to Swalwell, for instance, McCarthy has raised the issue of how he cannot be trusted to serve on the House Intelligence Committee. The speaker again emphasized those concerns to the press during Thursday's exchange.

"I was very clear early on," McCarthy reminded, before urging reporters to trust the knowledge has has on the matter. "Let me phrase something very direct to you. If you got the briefing I got from the FBI, you wouldn’t have Swalwell on any committee. And you’re going to tell me other Democrats couldn’t fill that slot?" McCarthy also repeated a point he has made before about Swalwell. "He cannot get a security clearance in the private sector. So would you like to give him a government clearance?"

McCarthy then turned the issue back to Rep. Santos. "You asked me questions about Santos. You ask the questions about Swalwell? Not only was he getting a clearance, he was inside an intel committee. He had more information than the majority of all the members. Did you ever raise that issue? No. But you should have."

The speaker during Thursday's presser also doubled down on his view that he is not calling on Santos to resign because he was elected by voters and because the ethics committee can handle the matter. "The voters have elected George Santos," he said. "If there is a concern, he will go through ethics. If there is something that is found, he will be dealt with in that manner. But they have a voice in this process." He repeated this point later in the briefing as well. 

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As to whether Santos will be given a security clearance, McCarthy suggested he will not be. "I don’t see any way that he’s going to have top secret [information]--if you’re referring to George Santos. He’s got a long way to go to earn trust," the speaker said. 

"George Santos" has been consistently trending as chatter increases about whether or not he will resign and what kind of a future the newly sworn in congressman has. 

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