It wasn't at all surprising that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) didn't enjoy President Joe Biden's national address last night. Indeed, it was practically the House Republican leader's job to wait until the speech was over, and then run to cameras to tell the public about his outrage.
But I'd hoped we were past this.
[O]n Fox News, McCarthy repeated the now-debunked falsehood that Biden's climate plan seeks to limit the amount of red meat that Americans can eat. "It just continues, he wants control of your life," McCarthy told prime-time personality Sean Hannity. "He's going to control how much meat you can eat. Can you imagine that?"
Is that a rhetorical question?
A week ago today, Biden hosted a virtual climate summit and laid out a vision in which the United States will cut its greenhouse emissions in half by 2030. A conservative British tabloid soon after published a report claiming that the White House "could" limit Americans to "just one burger a MONTH."
And then the flood gates opened. As we discussed the other day, conservative media in the U.S. started telling the public that Biden intends to limit consumers to "four pounds of red meat a year," alongside chyrons that read, "Bye-Bye Burgers Under Biden's Climate Plan." Larry Kudlow, the television personality who chaired Donald Trump's National Economic Council, added on Fox Business, "To meet the Biden Green New Deal targets, America has to, get this, America has to stop eating meat. No burger on July 4. No steaks on the barbecue."
It wasn't long before prominent Republican voices -- from members of Congress to Donald Trump Jr. -- joined in, expressing their outrage about Biden's plan to interfere with Americans' meat consumption.
There is no such plan. Even a Fox News host conceded on the air that it is "not the case" that Biden's climate plan is targeting meat consumption.
That was on Monday. Two days later, Kevin McCarthy -- a man who expects to be elevated to the Speaker's office next year -- nevertheless pushed the bogus idea that rascally Joe Biden intends to "control how much meat" Americans can eat.
It's possible that the House Republican leader is simply confused. Maybe he saw some false headlines last weekend and doesn't realize that the "controversy" over the White House's agenda is entirely made up. Or put another way, maybe McCarthy just isn't keeping up with current events as well he should.
But it's possible that the GOP leader knows full well that Biden isn't going after anyone's hamburgers, but he peddled the line anyway because it suits his party's political agenda.
For every pundit who wonders why the president doesn't reach out more to the House Republican leadership for bipartisan policy negotiations, McCarthy's comments offer a fresh reminder as to why such talks wouldn't go well.