The very day Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy complained on the House floor that the latest mask guidance came from a study in India (not so) of an unapproved vaccine (also not so) that “didn’t even pass purr review.” Was he waiting for a litter of kittens to examine the data?
The day before Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy held a news conference to provide his latest thinking on the Jan. 6 investigation, including:
“We now have a committee that all of America wants to know the answers to.”
“How can you ever get to the bottom of the questions?”
“Never before in the history of Congress has a speaker taken the unprecedented move of denying the other party to a committee of who they selected.”
McCarthy further concluded that the April slaying of a Capitol Police officer was politically motivated — “based upon if you listen to who made the killing of buying the knife and go out.”
The day after Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy made yet more important points at another news conference.
On President Biden: “The president, we sat to met with, that we wanted to be — keep our path be energy independent.”
On a retired colleague: “Former liberal senator Barbara Boxer is now has the effect of being robbed in Oakland.”
On Pelosi: “She will go at no elms to break the rules.”
On Pelosi, cont’d: “We watched time and again where she told the American public they couldn’t get a haircut — except for her. We told her that she fights for the Americans, but they make $5 million in less than a month trading stock options … on tech companies that were — that were debating inside the House; that the only reason the market went up, that they made that money was what the outcome of the stocks — or, the outcome of the bills.”
Fact-check analysis: Wuh?
But one week does not a moron make. Let’s examine history.
McCarthy famously lost a chance to be speaker in 2015 when he admitted that Republicans created the Benghazi select committee to hurt Hillary Clinton (by making her seem “untrustable”).
In 2016, McCarthy told fellow Republicans he believed Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll — “swear to God.” Aghast, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan silenced McCarthy.
In 2018, McCarthy tweeted, then deleted, a warning that three men of Jewish descent, George Soros, Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg, wanted “to BUY this election!”
On “60 Minutes” in 2019, McCarthy was asked about then-President Donald Trump’s infamous request of the Ukrainian president: “I’d like you to do us a favor, though.” McCarthy, unaware this was a verbatim quote from the White House transcript, accused CBS of doctoring it.
Recently, McCarthy trumpeted on Fox News an apocryphal report that Biden “is going to control how much meat you can eat.” McCarthy also claimed not to know about QAnon (which he called “Q-on”): “I don’t know if I say it right. I don’t even know what it is.” He had spoken several times previously about QAnon, by name.
Long before McCarthy became Trump’s “my Kevin,” he had a rocky relationship with the English language.
In 2014, I chronicled McCarthy’s musings on blind justice (“You see the Supreme Court, you see the statue sitting there, blinded in the process with the weights in between”), on Obamacare enrollment (“He only totes the 8 million … How can we fall going forward?”) and on charter schools (“This is a great strength of a change making an equalizer inside for economy throughout”). In a 2015 foreign policy address, he announced that he had visited “Hungria” and lamented that Russia is “keeping the place of the band on America.”
Marching band? Boy band? This fact check could not determine.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow then described McCarthy’s speech pattern as a “word typhoon.” (Fact check: It’s technically a word tornado, in which words scatter randomly and sometimes disappear entirely.) He sounds part Yoda, part Google Translate.
But does this make McCarthy a “moron”? There might be another explanation. I asked McCarthy’s communications director, Matt Sparks, if the leader has a speech disability (in which case I wouldn’t ridicule him). But Sparks made no such claim, instead calling my ongoing interest in McCarthy’s words “a bit sad and very odd.”
Alas, this leaves only one possible conclusion, which I deliver with no elms: Pelosi’s claim earns the rating “mostly true.”