- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2015

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Friday that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who appears to be on track to be the next Speaker of the House, is “not off to a great start” in light of his comments earlier this week about the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

“Well, you know I don’t know him, but certainly, he’s not off to a great start,” Mr. Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I watched that, actually, and I was a little surprised by it.”

Mr. Trump did say that “it can be taken both ways.”

“Really, what he said could be very much taken both ways. He’s got his view and other people, obviously the Democrats are running, and Hillary in particular [is] running with it,” Mr. Trump said. “It would have been nice if he didn’t say it, certainly, because then there’d be no dispute and you get on with Benghazi as a very serious group of people that have been working on it for a long time.”

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday, Mr. McCarthy appeared to link the sagging poll numbers of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner, to the work of the panel, which has been tasked with investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee,” Mr. McCarthy said. “What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

Democrats have called on the committee to disband in light of his original remarks, but Mr. McCarthy said in a new Fox News interview Thursday that the work of the committee is not political.

“This committee’s sole purpose is to find the truth — why four Americans were killed that night,” the California Republican said on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

“It was never my intention to ever imply that this committee was political, [because] we all know it is not,” he said.

Asked if Mr. McCarthy should be the next Speaker of the House, Mr. Trump said Friday: “I would like to see somebody that’s very tough and that can negotiate with the Democrats, and I don’t know that he’s that person.”

“We need somebody that’s a very, very tough, smart cunning person. I don’t know that that’s him, and obviously the statement hurt him pretty badly in the eyes of some, unfortunately,” he said.

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