In 2019, then-Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy vehemently criticized Democrats for initiating an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump without first passing a budget and securing government funding to prevent a shutdown.
Fast forward four years later and McCarthy, now the House Speaker, is pushing ahead with a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden while in the midst of another budget crisis and an unresolved looming government shutdown.
McCarthy called for the inquiry, even as House Republicans have yet to prove allegations that Biden profited off of his son’s foreign business dealings, to appease far-right members of the Republican caucus who have threatened his speakership.
In 2019, McCarthy said Democrats were prioritizing a politically-driven impeachment of Trump over the government’s basic responsibilities.
“This is the day that Alexander Hamilton feared and warned would come,” he said at a news conference on December 5, 2019. “This is the day the nation is weaker because they surely cannot put their animosity or their fear of losing an election in the future in front of all the other things that the American people want.”
“They don’t even have a budget,” he added. Congress passed a spending package two a few weeks later, averting a government shutdown.
McCarthy did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Now Congress faces a looming deadline at the end of the month to fund the government and some conservative members of the Republican caucus say they will not support a bill that doesn’t contain spending cuts.
In comments made on radio shows and in press conferences in 2019 reviewed by CNN’s KFile, McCarthy repeatedly said Democrats’ actions demeaned the impeachment process to a point that every subsequent president could be impeached – something he said he hoped wouldn’t happen.
“This is exactly what Alexander Hamilton warned us about, that with impeachment, that you would have a party actually grab it and, and not worry about the rule of law, but just the animosity that you have. And I’ve never seen the animosity in our lifetime,” said McCarthy to California local radio station KERN in late December 2019. “I’m sure there’s been animosity like this before, but not to this level. And maybe social media and other things drive it.
“And if you, and if you lower it to this level, when they ended up with just those two articles, every president would’ve been impeached. And what does it mean for the future? Have we, have we now demeaned impeachment so low that everybody’s gonna have this?” he added.
“Sometimes something happens so bad we need to learn from and come back from at this moment in time,” McCarthy continued. “I hope that’s the moment of where we are.”
Trump was impeached for the first time by the House of Representatives in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The impeachment proceedings were initiated after allegations that he solicited foreign interference from Ukraine to benefit his 2020 reelection campaign and obstructed the subsequent congressional investigation.
Trump was acquitted by the Senate in early 2020.
McCarthy made similar comments at a press conference in November 2019.
“I think what Republicans are doing is standing up for the constitution,” said McCarthy. “I think it’s the same thing that Alexander Hamilton warned us about, that you would use it for political gain from the same basis of going forward.
“I think what Republicans are standing up for is the idea of what they ran on. First thing, I think a majority should do is pass a budget, which the Democrats have not done. They should actually make sure that they fund the government, which we have not done. We’re working to now have another continuing resolution, so our troops are not being provided the resources they need or the pay raise that they have earned.”
McCarthy also lamented that impeachment has “overtaken every single committee” and emphasized “what is not being done in Congress.”