The far-right is controlling the Republican Party, and Kevin McCarthy is embracing it

By Justin Chen, Assistant Opinion Editor

Since Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) became a law maker, I have been calling her and her close colleagues from the House Freedom Caucus such as Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) the “trolls of Congress” for their tendency to troll lawmakers on either side of the aisle. 

But, sometimes, that trolling goes too far. This time Boebert, a known QAnon supporter, has been promoting Islamophobia in Congress. Several videos have surfaced online suggesting that Boebert boasted about a fake encounter with Congresswoman Ilham Omar (D-Minn.) where she reffered to Omar’s team and the House Progressive Caucus as the “Jihad Squad.”

Boebert suggested that Omar was a suicide bomber by stating that she was glad to see that Omar did not have a backpack with her. In the same video, Boebert suggested that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was trying to learn how to “breastfeed” when he was on paternity leave. Because, of course, under her impression, when men go on paternity leave they automatically get periods, grow breasts, and begin lactating. 

Not surprisingly, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is dead silent when his party pulls disgusting stunts like this, aside from his intervention in the fight between Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC.) and Taylor Greene, which ended badly when Mace retaliated by calling Taylor Greene “bat shit crazy” on Twitter. 

But hey, at least McCarthy is not flying to Cancún avoiding this hot mess that members from his own party created like someone else we know

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However, when vile language is thrown around from his party to another, why does he choose to ignore it? Moreover, why is Omar the bogeyman of the Democratic Party for Republicans? 

The only reason I can think of is that McCarthy wants the speakership, and in order to achieve his goal, the Republican Party must take back the house in the midterm elections next November. Their strategy to do so? Keep using former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric. 

Since Boebert’s Islamophobic comments revealed, she has rightfully received criticism from fellow members of the house, including some in her own party. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called her “trash” while Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D. Mass.) introduced a resolution to condemn Boebert

In the wake of pressure from both sides of the aisle, Boebert issued a rather soft apology saying that she was sorry she offended Omar and the Muslim community. However, this apology was short-lived. After a feisty conversation with Omar, she went on Twitter and spread her “wisdom.” 

Instead of apologizing to Omar publicly, she demanded Omar publicly apologize for the “anti-American, antisemetic, anti-police” comments she made in the past, referring to Omar’s stance and past comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Meanwhile, the feud within the Republican Party continues escalating regarding this issue. While Congresswoman Mace condemned Boebert’s comments, Congresswoman Taylor Greene commented that Mace should keep hanging with the “Jihad Squad.”

The unity, or lack thereof, within the party is a hot mess. Omar’s antisemitic comments deserve to be criticized, and the Democratic leadership in the House have come out and condemned it already— a dramatic difference from their colleagues across the aisle.  

The far-right members of the Republican Party have certainly failed in understanding common sense, and it makes me wonder: where is Kevin McCarthy? Apparently sitting on the sidelines allowing the GOP to follow in Trump’s footsteps.

The disgraced one-term president is known for his racist and Islamophobic language and actions both inside and outside of office. From Islamophobic comments towards former President Barack Obama and Rep. Omar to a Muslim travel ban, the former President is known for his hate against the Muslim community.  

Trump’s racism fueled his power. He is and continues to be the most powerful figure within the Republican party. If he criticizes any Republican in this country, their political career is over, just look at Rep. Liz Cheney, who was stripped of her leadership position in the party after she was an outspoken critic of Trump’s following the Jan. 6 insurrection.  

In this specific instance, McCarthy is afraid of these trolls from the House Freedom Caucus. Their languages and ideologies are so similar to Trump, making them more powerful and popular than McCarthy politically. If any Republicans come out and criticize these trolls, they will all be deemed as part of the “Jihad Squad.”

Some far-right GOP members have already expressed their anger towards McCarthy’s lack of action by pushing the party further right. For example, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has been saying that she will not vote yes for McCarthy to become the Speaker of the House if Republicans regain control of Congress next year. 

In a recent podcast appearance with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Taylor Greene lamented that she “Can’t respect leadership that doesn’t hold people accountable, yet allows people like me, Paul Gosar, to be constantly trampled on and abused, and then will throw us under the bus at the first given chance.”

By feeling the political pressure from the far-right, McCarthy, not surprisingly, just let it go, fearing the termination of his political power. A perfect example of his cowardness is his rhetoric in the wake of the insurrection. 

McCarthy and the majority of Republicans in Congress have continuously attempted to gaslight the American public by denying the responsibility of Trump and the GOP for the insurrection.  

Initially, McCarthy’s reaction was disgust, calling on the former president to bear the responsibility for inciting the violence. However, after he learned that Trump was furious at him, he walked back from his former statements, shrugged his shoulders, and said that he didn’t remember saying that

This silence and cowardice from McCarthy are not only ruining the Republican Party but are also insulting towards his own constituents. His silence and indecisiveness on certain issues are certainly for his own political gain. His silence is killing the conservative establishment within the U.S. and further prompting white nationalism. 

McCarthy should know better. He should know these things are wrong. He should know there should be no place in the U.S. Congress for this type of hypocrisy. He knows that his job is to get his constituents what they want, so why can’t McCarthy publicly condemn racist, anti-Muslim, and violent language and action from members of his party? 

Instead of taking the right and responsible actions, he goes on Fox News to criticize Democrats, claiming that they are running the country into dismay, and playing the victim card of “cancel culture” by the “woke mobs.”

I sometimes wish that those Fox News hosts reminded him of his role as the minority leader––calling out hypocrisy within his party, negotiating with lawmakers from the opposite side of the aisle politely, and passing as much bipartisan legislation as possible to benefit the nation. This seems to be too far-reach to ask of a Republican representative apparently.

At this point, McCarthy needs to think about what his party is: the party of Ronald Reagan or the party of Donald Trump? Real conservatism or white nationalism? He has the power to stand up to these trolls within the Republican party and to steer the dynamic back to true conservatism, but silence is not the option. 

Instead of staying silent, McCarthy needs to come right out and condemn Boebert’s actions and strip her of her committee assignments. He must give up Trump and Trumpism and start pushing real conservatism.