- Kevin McCarthy last week suggested limiting aid to Ukraine if the GOP wins the House in November.
- In response, Liz Cheney called McCarthy the “leader of the pro-Putin wing” of the GOP, saying he’d “sacrifice everything” for his own gain.
- The House minority leader has developed a reputation among critics for being willing to do anything to maintain power.
Following his statements last week suggesting aid to Ukraine may be limited if Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in November’s election, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is facing criticism that has been levied at him before.
“The fact that he’s willing to go down the path of suggesting that America will no longer stand for freedom, I think, tells you he’s willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain,” Rep. Liz Cheney said during a Sunday interview with Meet the Press.
McCarthy last Tuesday expressed skepticism about sending more aid to Ukraine, saying “it’s not a free blank check,” in a decisive split from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s position that the Biden administration and allies need “to do more to supply the tools Ukraine needs to thwart Russian aggression.”
A small contingent of GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, have largely opposed sending aid to Ukraine. As McCarthy hesitated to commit to further financial and military support to the country facing invasion by Russian forces, former Rep. Liz Cheney criticized him as positioning himself to be “the leader of the pro-Putin wing” of the Republican party.
“[A]t every moment since, frankly, the aftermath of the election in 2020, when Minority Leader McCarthy has had the opportunity to do the right thing or do something that serves his own political purpose, he always chooses to serve his own political purpose,” Cheney said during a Sunday interview with Meet the Press. “And, you know, that extends to what we’ve seen just in the last few days with these comments about aid to Ukraine, the idea that somehow the party is now no longer going to support the Ukrainian people.”
Cheney said she doesn't see McCarthy as "fit for office" and his lack of support for the Ukrainian people is "dangerous," adding: "He knows better."
This is not the first time such criticism has been levied at McCarthy. His Democratic challenger, Marisa Wood, told Insider he'd "sell his mother's soul" to protect his career, and even his most enthusiastic Bakersfield, California constituents have said he makes politically-motivated calculations, however unpopular, to stay in office.
"He chose his own political career over what is good for democracy," Wood told Insider, referring to McCarthy's public support of Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. "Over those brave Capitol Police officers, who fought to defend democracy. That's what people are seeing, that's what people are finally seeing. Kevin McCarthy will sell his mother's soul in order to protect his own political career and to do whatever the former president tells him to do. And that's not okay."
Even within his own party, members have criticized McCarthy's flimsy resolve, with ABC News reporting Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the House minority leader demonstrated "an utter lack of leadership" in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Despite his public support of the former president, McCarthy drew ire from more staunch MAGA Republicans as well after private condemnations of Trump's actions on Jan. 6 came to light. In leaked audio, McCarthy was heard calling Trump's behavior "unacceptable," saying "I've had it with this guy," before he later publicly met with Trump and signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn election results in key states. Matt Gaetz called McCarthy a "weak man" for his criticisms of the former President, while Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused him of being "a puppet of the Democratic Party," ABC News reported.
Representatives for McCarthy did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.