Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is jettisoning his filter on the way out the door, telling a bow-tied room of high-level donors that Democrats have a better public image of diversity than his more homogenous party.
Dressed to kill, McCarthy spoke before the Oxford Union Society last month on a host of issues from American interventionism to the 2024 presidential race. The California Republican shook Washington earlier this week with his announcement that he would be abdicating the remainder of his two-year term and retiring in January. However, it was his parting shot at the GOP that stoked the ire of conservatives.
“When you look at the Democrats, they actually look like America,” McCarthy started before turning his fire on his colleagues. “When I look at my party we look like the most restrictive country club in America.”
The quip drew intermittent laughter and applause from the liberal audience.
The Oxford Union, which draws from Oxford University in the U.K., hosted McCarthy for an evening of anti-American debate titled “This House Believes US Interventionism Has Done More Harm Than Good.” The former Speaker answered for his refusal to grant Ukraine an open checkbook while heading the House as well as defended his invitation to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that further chilled the nation’s relationship with China.
Hosts could not help but poke fun at the recently defenestrated Republican, promising him “this house has more confidence in him [than the last one]” according to the Oxford Student. They also joked that “[this is the] last time he will be speaker of the house for a while.”
The war between Ukraine and Russia, and more recently Israel’s war against Hamas, have kept the U.S. and U.K. within their familiar transatlantic friendship. However, back home Republicans have become increasingly critical of hundreds of billions of dollars sent to Ukraine, which has struggled to regain control of territory taken by Russia, while Democrats earlier this week filed legislation seeking to tie aid to Israel to limitations on how weapons may be used to minimize Palestinian casualties.
Both conflicts will likely drag on long past McCarthy’s time in office, as will the bad blood he’s leaving behind among colleagues who voted to oust him, one of whom he shoved in a congressional hallway last month.
McCarthy’s criticisms on diversity in the GOP left out polling showing that Black Americans support former President Donald Trump at a higher rate than any Republican presidential candidate since the Civil Rights era. Trump, who offered a number of olive branches to Black communities in his first term, has garnered support from Black celebrities in the hip-hop arena and entertainment industries and has drawn hundreds of diverse spectators to the motorcade routes preceding his various criminal trial appearances.