Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., raised concerns about the presence of potential terror “sleeper cells” within the United States, particularly in light of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. McCarthy expressed these worries during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
McCarthy, who has thrown his support behind Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., to fill his previous role as Speaker of the House, emphasized the critical need for prioritizing border security. The position of Speaker has been vacant for three weeks, and McCarthy underlined the urgency of addressing the nation’s border security challenges.
McCarthy cited a recent report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which revealed that 18 individuals on the FBI’s terror watch list were apprehended at the southern border in September. This adds to the more than 160 such individuals who have been apprehended so far this year.
The former Speaker expressed his concern that there may be potential “sleeper cells” already operating within the United States. He pointed out that the chaotic situation at the southern border poses a significant security risk. McCarthy argued that the current administration has not taken sufficient action to address these concerns.
He further highlighted the broader geopolitical context, referencing unrest in the Middle East and Europe, and suggested that these sleeper cells could pose a threat to national security.
We’re on the brink of World War III and this is how Joe Biden is spending the weekend:pic.twitter.com/EK8FZGellW
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 22, 2023
Discussing the upcoming speakership fight, McCarthy mentioned that Reps. Jim Jordan, R Ohio, and Steve Scalise, R-La., had both failed to secure enough votes, making the situation an “uphill battle.” He stressed the importance of experienced leadership at this time, given the nation’s security challenges.
McCarthy also criticized eight House Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., for joining with Democrats in a vote that resulted in a temporary government shutdown. He defended his decision to prevent the government shutdown, stating that it was the right choice to ensure government continuity and support for American troops abroad.
The former Speaker touched on an ethics probe facing Gaetz, suggesting that his actions may have been an attempt to divert attention from this matter. McCarthy called for unity within the Republican Party and emphasized the need to address the country’s challenges.
When pressed about the possibility of running for Speaker again, McCarthy did not provide a direct answer but indicated his commitment to working in any capacity that can protect America’s interests. He also expressed his desire to address issues such as border security, inflation, and international relations, particularly with regards to Iran and the situation in Israel.