Hillary Clinton calls Kevin McCarthy's Benghazi comments 'deeply distressing'

Hillary Clinton.
(Image credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that comments House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made on Fox News about the GOP investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, were "deeply distressing" and demonstrated "unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan political exercise."

Republicans have long said the committee was never about damaging Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attack, but McCarthy's remarks hinted otherwise. "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" he said. "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 that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen." McCarthy is the favorite to become the next House speaker, and Clinton told MSNBC his statement "does a grave disservice and dishonors not just the memory of the four that we lost, but of everybody who has served our country."

McCarthy received blowback from Democrats and Republicans alike, with Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) saying the committee had "little to do with finding out anything new of that tragic night that claimed four American lives, and everything to do with attacking a likely Democratic nominee for president. McCarthy laid bare the abusive purpose of this taxpayer-funded committee." Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said McCarthy "needs to reread the job description of speaker of the House if he thinks it's to bring hearings that help us denigrate Democrats that are running for president. We need to focus on what we're supposed to do in this chamber."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.