House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday appeared to defend Donald Trump’s picks for his two top advisers when the president-elect gets to the White House.
In an interview on “CBS This Morning,” the California Republican was asked what he thought aboutthe appointments of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and Reince Priebus as chief of staff.
“They forged a relationship. When you go through a campaign as high as president, you go through ups and downs...I think [Trump] was able to bond the different parts of that campaign and show that they can work together,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he has spoken to both Bannon and Priebus -- two men who may not necessarily see eye to eye in Trump’s administration. Bannon is considered more of a political outsider and anti-establishment while Priebus represents the establishment wing of the GOP.
The Anti-Defamation League blasted the appointments Sunday, arguing that Bannon promotes white nationalism. Asked if he agrees with that characterization, McCarthy said, “I think you’re putting a lot of things on that site onto Bannon that he doesn’t have control over.”
McCarthy seemed to be referring to the ultra-conservative website Breitbart which Bannon previously ran. He also served as Trump’s campaign CEO on the last leg of the presidential campaign.
Asked if the alt-right movement has become a credible part of the GOP’s constituency, McCarthy seemed to dodge the question, saying that he has a portrait in his office of President Abraham Lincoln who he said represents “the core” of the party.
McCarthy was also asked if there are any divisions between Trump and Republicans on immigration since the president-elect said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday that he would first deport three million criminal undocumented immigrants and then consider what to do with the rest of the undocumented community once the border is secure.
“The one common ground that everybody is going to find is securing the border,” McCarthy said.
He added that, “What President-elect Donald Trump is talking about is those who have broken felonies. That’s not a new law; that’s current law.”