Three House Democrats that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has targeted for removal from committee assignments responded Sunday to the Central California native's actions, calling them "Bakersfield BS," on CNN's State of the Union.
McCarthy has already removed his fellow California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee. The speaker claimed that Schiff lied to Americans leading up to former President Donald Trump's first impeachment and cited Swalwell's previous ties to a Chinese spy as the reason for his removal.
"How can you on the one hand, suggest that these are some kind of legitimate basis for unseating Democrats on committees and put someone like George Santos on any committee?" Schiff said, referring to McCarthy's decision to //stand by Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., despite Santos' embellished resume and other questions surrounding him.
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Schiff and Swalwell dismissed McCarthy's allegations as "political abuse" and retribution after Democrats voted to remove Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green and Reps. Paul Gosar from House committees in 2021.
"This is some Bakersfield BS. It's Kevin McCarthy weaponizing his ability commit this political abuse because he perceives me just like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar as an effective political opponent," said Swalwell Sunday, noting that the FBI investigated his ties with a Chinese spy and found no wrongdoing.
McCarthy was able to remove Schiff and Swalwell from their assignments unilaterally as speaker because the House Intelligence Committee is a select committee. The House is slated to take up a vote to remove Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
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Omar's Republican opponents and McCarthy are pushing for her removal due to her past antisemitic remarks regarding American support for Israel. In a now deleted tweet from 2012, she accused Israel of having "hypnotized the world." Omar has since apologized for the remarks.
"When that was brought to my attention. I apologized. I owned up to it.," said Omar Sunday. "That's the kind of person that I am and I continue to work with my colleagues and my community to fight against antisemitism."
Some House Republicans have questioned the legitimacy of McCarthy's claims and worry that Omar's removal could be seen as political revenge and with the GOP's narrow majority in the House, it is unclear if there are enough votes to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
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So far, three House Republicans have said they will not support Omar's removal: Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz and South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Reps. Swalwell, Schiff, Omar respond to McCarthy over House committees