Devin Nunes used to be Trump’s water boy. Kevin McCarthy has now fully embraced that role

·3 min read
Greg Nash

Once upon a time there was a member of Congress from California named Devin Nunes. A staunch Republican from Tulare, Nunes had a safe seat and was re-elected time and again, so much so he became a senior leader in the House for his party.

Then along came President Donald Trump, a Republican who like Nunes loved to blast Democrats and accuse them of pushing socialism, even when it wasn’t true. Nunes fell for this political brother in arms, and became the leading defender of Trump in the House when it investigated the president for allegedly using Russian help to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Fast forward to today: Another longtime Republican from a Valley town, this time Bakersfield, has been re-elected time after time. He is the senior leader in the House for the GOP, and his name is Kevin McCarthy. Like Nunes before him, McCarthy is on tap to represent Clovis and parts of Fresno County, and like Nunes has become a Trump defender extraordinaire.

On Monday McCarthy made news when he blasted the Justice Department and FBI for a raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. Why did agents search a search warrant there? Because Trump had removed documents from the White House on his way out the door in early 2021, a potential violation of federal law.

But that made no difference to McCarthy. Rather than focus on the likely illegal behavior by Tump, McCarthy focused his anger on the federal agents in a social media post.

With that tweet, McCarthy is showing unbridled allegiance to the former president, and thus has taken over the role Nunes once held. Just like Nunes, McCarthy’s view is the facts be damned.

It is a violation of the Presidential Records Act for any materials a president might have pertaining to official business — letters, emails, texts, gifts, mementos — to be kept privately.


But early this year the National Archives found out that Trump took 15 boxes of records to Mar-a-Lago. Some of the records removed were stamped with “confidential” and “top secret.”

The reality is that the Justice Department likely has good, defensible reasons for the search. Just like Nunes before him, McCarthy is sweeping aside the rule of law in favor of politics to benefit the one — Donald J. Trump.

Grounds for search

For the duration of the Russian-collusion investigation, Nunes blasted House Democrats with words like “hoax” and “witch hunt.”

Never mind that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation determined that Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and even coordination with Russia.

Also never mind that Trump relentlessly criticized Clinton when it was learned she had official business on her personal laptop. The word “hypocrisy” springs to mind.

This summation by The Washington Post is all one needs to know about the search of Trump’s home:

“Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that this investigation hardly comes out of nowhere: Trump’s handling of government documents has long been a focal point. The Washington Post reported as far back as February on Trump’s “relentless document destruction habits.” A couple of days later, the National Archives confirmed that it had retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago — including records marked as “classified” and even “top secret” — that should have been turned over, and then asked the Justice Department to investigate, which it clearly has.”

A water boy is the kid on the sideline of a football team that runs water bottles out to the players during a time out. Nunes happily performed that role when he spent his last two years in the House defending Trump at all turns.

McCarthy has now picked up that mantle, but has done so at the cost of his personal integrity and commitment to the rule of law.

Should it turn out that Trump illegally removed official government documents to his private home, the political price should fall on him, and on McCarthy as well.