WASHINGTON–Rep. Steny Hoyer apologized Friday for calling House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy a “coward” Thursday night, the peak of a week of strong rhetoric from Hoyer as Democrats and Republicans sparred over homeland security funding and immigration policy.
Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, was caught saying “you coward” about McCarthy, R-Calif., off-camera on C SPAN after a tense formal exchange between the two on the House floor.
Hoyer, in his role as minority whip, has been outspoken in his desire for Congress to pass a “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The bill would not include provisions, favored by Republicans, that would undermine President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration from last year.
Hoyer said he apologized privately to McCarthy on Thursday night. He apologized publicly on the House floor Friday morning.
“I rise to publicly apologize to Leader McCarthy for a remark I made to myself which was picked up by the House microphone yesterday,” he said. “It was said out of frustration and anger, it was wrong and I have apologized privately to Mr. McCarthy, who I believe is a man of integrity in this house.”
On Tuesday, Hoyer urged the Senate pass a clean bill as soon as possible during his weekly press briefing.
“It is extremely irresponsible … to try to bludgeon the President of the United States,” Hoyer said about Republican attempts to tie Obama’s executive orders on immigration to the DHS funding bill.
On Thursday, Hoyer appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to speak in support of a clean funding bill.
“It makes no sense. I think it’s a political tantrum, frankly,” Hoyer said about the Republican plans to defund Obama’s immigration actions, which he said wouldn’t even be affected by defunding DHS because the programs run on fees.
“You’re demoralizing an agency we need to have on high alert, high morale, confronting the terrorist threats that we know are out there,” he said about having department employees work without pay.