Kevin McCarthy Revoking Colleagues Over Reckless Comments

Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California might be right about the days following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. 

At the time, McCarthy stated certain extremely conservative members of Congress used fiery speeches, raising the potential for violence and they ought to cool it. 

He was mindful of the horror that occurred when a political extremist’s wrath nearly resulted in the murder of the House’s second-ranking Republican, Louisiana’s Steve Scalise, in a 2017 attack. 

His worry was legitimate. Both political parties would have welcomed the self-control he advised at the time. Both parties have violated those criteria. 

Mo Brooks and Matt Gaetz

McCarthy referred to Republicans by name.

Mo Brooks of Alabama reportedly exhorted the crowd to go to the Capitol and “start taking off names and kicking a**,” despite the fact Brooks himself was donning a bulletproof vest. 

When someone possesses protection that others lack, it’s natural to speak harshly.

As it turns out, Brooks didn’t learn anything. Later that year, he effectively defended a person who made a bomb scare on the Capitol, saying the person was expressing “rage toward totalitarian socialism.” 

Matt Gaetz of Florida used aggressive comments to attack Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, who was then the House’s third-ranking Republican.

Lauren Boebert of Colorado published personal details about legislators’ whereabouts as the disturbance continued after her earlier report that January 6 would be “1776 all over again.”

Barry Moore of Alabama stated, accurately but provocatively, that “it was a black police officer who fired at the white female vet,” Ashli Babbitt, who died on the spot. 

Democrats, As Well

Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has a history of making prejudiced and odd statements, similarly declared the day before the revolt that “this is our 1776 juncture.”

12 days later, she was still urging then-President Trump to invoke “Marshall [sic] law” in order to retain power. 

Over 140 law enforcement personnel were injured during the violence, at least 17 of them badly. Meanwhile, rioters chanted for Vice President Mike Pence’s execution and were within one minute of reaching Pence and his family.

This was not a bunch of slightly excitable onlookers; this was a major intrusion and McCarthy was justified in requesting rhetorical moderation in the aftermath. 

Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, stated in 2018 that Trump staff members and Cabinet officials should not be welcomed in public places.

She said these heinous things following the horrific harassment of two top Trump advisers at restaurants, the latest in a long-running trend of Republicans exposed to threatening behavior.

As with Brooks, Waters urged street demonstrators to become “more combative” if police officers involved in the historic George Floyd killing were not convicted of manslaughter in 2021. 

The instances could go on, including a few from the so-called “Squad” of Democratic congresswomen on the left.

Still, the point is clear: political passions are combustible these days and there are crazies that don’t require many verbal indications before acting dangerously. 

If loudmouths such as Brooks, Gaetz, Waters, Boebert, and Greene continue to engage in flammable populist rhetoric, they should face condemnation from their peers and eviction from their constituents.