Fox hosts top House Republican to push partisan coronavirus disinformation

House minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed on Fox that Democrats held the coronavirus bill. Right-wing media ran with it, even though it's a total lie.

On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) went on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show to spread partisan disinformation about Congress’ coronavirus spending bill, claiming that it was “held” so the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “could run ads against Republicans.”

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Citation From the Sunday, March 8, 2020 episode of Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures

A search of the DCCC’s ads on Twitter and Facebook found that the committee did run a short series of ads against “vulnerable Republicans” in Congress beginning on March 2 focused on the Trump administration’s refusal to ensure affordable testing for COVID-19. But there is no indication that the bill was “held” deliberately, and the ads do not mention the spending bill at all. 

On February 27, The Hill reported that Democrats were insisting on “guardrails” for the spending bill to stop the Trump administration from using the need for coronavirus response to justify diverting money from public aid programs, as it did when it cut $37 million from a program that helps low-income people pay to heat their homes. Those “guardrails” may be what McCarthy considered a holdup, though he did not elaborate in his interview with Bartiromo. 

Additionally, the only “nay” votes against the bill came from Republicans. On Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told guest host Tammy Bruce that he voted against the bill because he thought it contained “all sorts of Christmas-tree ornaments” in the form of aid spending that was “unnecessary” and cost “too much money.” His office later told Fox News that he opposed the bill because it provided too much funding to other countries and for supposedly unnecessary expenditures on stockpiles of medical supplies like masks and gloves. 

McCarthy’s appearance on Bartiromo’s Sunday Morning Futures marks the second time in a week that he went on Fox to make the thinly sourced claim about Democrats holding up the bipartisan coronavirus spending bill. On the night of Super Tuesday, the House minority leader went on Laura Ingraham’s show to make an identical argument.

Right-wing media sites Town Hall, Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire, and Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze have cited the baseless claims McCarthy made on Fox to attack Democrats.