Republicans are scrambling to contain the damage from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (D-Calif.) remarks about the Benghazi Committee amid a firestorm of criticism.
Outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was forced to defend the Benghazi panel on Thursday after McCarthy — his presumed successor for the gavel — linked the success of the investigation to Hillary Clinton’s falling poll numbers.
“This investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton and never will be,” Boehner said in a statement.
“The American people deserve the truth about what happened in Benghazi. That’s always been our focus, and that’s going to remain our focus.”
McCarthy gave an opening to critics of the Benghazi investigation during an interview late Tuesday on Fox News in which he said the panel had played a role in Clinton’s declining poll numbers.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy said on Fox News.
“Why? Because she’s untrustable.”
The remark has undermined the GOP’s message that they are only seeking to learn what really happened when four Americans where killed during the 2012 assault in Libya. The attack occurred while Clinton was secretary of State.
Several Republicans have repudiated McCarthy’s remarks, saying they disagree with the implication that the investigation is politically motivated.