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McCarthy defends ‘passionate’ Republicans who heckled Biden during State of the Union

The Hill logo The Hill 2/8/2023 Dominick Mastrangelo
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday dismissed a question on whether he was trying to quell a number of outbursts from members of his caucus during President Biden’s State of the Union address.

“Apparently the White House comms team is delighted at the reaction because it looked like Joe Biden was standing up to the Republicans,” Steve Doocy, a host on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” said to McCarthy during an appearance by the Speaker on the network. “At one point it looked like you were trying to shush your side of the aisle. What happened?”

McCarthy deflected, blaming Biden for riling up members of the House GOP.

“Well, the president was trying to goad the members, and the members are passionate about it,” McCarthy said.

During Tuesday’s speech a number of Republicans shouted at Biden, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who called Biden a “liar” after a remark by the president about Medicare and Social Security.

Other Republicans screamed at Biden to “secure to border” when he spoke about the ongoing opioid crisis in America.

McCarthy had previously said his party would abide by the congressional “code of ethics” and that he would not play “childish games like tearing up a speech,” a reference to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripping in half a copy of then-President Trump’s prepared remarks during the 2020 State of the Union address.

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