Earlier this week, McCarthy had praised a House select committee's work for its effect on weakening Hillary Clinton's poll numbers
"I wasn't saying that committee was political. That committee is solely to get the truth out, but it happened within the truth you found out about a server," McCarthy said
Kevin McCarthy, the leading candidate to succeed John Boehner as House speaker, tried to walk back on Thursday controversial comments he made about a congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terror attack.
Earlier this week, McCarthy had praised a House select committee’s work for its effect on weakening Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers during her presidential campaign. On Thursday, McCarthy, the current House majority leader, said on Fox News that he had unintentionally misstated his position.
“This committee was set up for one sole purpose, to find the truth on behalf of families for four dead Americans,” McCarthy told Bret Baier. “Now, I did not imply in any way that that work is political, of course it is not. Look at the way they have carried themselves out.”
He added: “That committee is solely to get the truth out, but it happened within the truth you found out about a server,” a reference to the private email server Clinton has admitted she maintained while secretary of state. “This committee’s sole purpose is to find the truth why four Americans were killed that night, and that is the work they have done, that is the hearings they have done, they have been applauded on all sides of the aisle, so it was never my intention to say that.”
McCarthy also told Baier he predicts that he will get the votes to become speaker.
The California Republican said Tuesday night that the GOP-led Congress had succeeded by bringing down Clinton’s poll numbers.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy said on Fox News. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.”
House Republicans have sharply repudiated McCarthy’s comments that suggested the House select committee investigating Benghazi had succeeded by tarnishing Clinton, saying it undermined their party’s messaging on a key issue and raised questions about his ability to be the GOP’s top communicator.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan contributed to this report.