by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) on Friday defended his previous claim that coronavirus is a “tremendous opportunity” to advance Democratic policy goals.
“I find it kind of interesting that one of my colleagues said he has a problem with me because I’m a ‘restructure government’ person,” Clyburn told Roll Call. “Yes, Jim Clyburn is a restructuring government guy and everybody with any common sense, and looking at where we are today, needs to be a restructuring government person.”
Clyburn has taken a prominent role in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) coronavirus response. The speaker tapped the South Carolina Democrat on Thursday to lead her select oversight committee on coronavirus relief, which will monitor the billions in federal dollars spent fighting the pandemic. Top Republicans criticized the decision, pointing to Clyburn’s March comments calling the coronavirus “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
“What’s most telling here is who [Pelosi] appointed. She didn’t go with the oversight committee chair, her own, she appointed Clyburn,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said during a Fox News appearance Friday. “And remember what Clyburn said—her majority whip. He said this is a time to restructure into their vision, government. This isn’t about oversight, [it] sounds like pure politics.”
Clyburn defended his comments in a Friday Roll Call interview, with the South Carolina Democrat comparing America’s coronavirus response to World War II.
“I spent some time in the last 24 hours looking at the Truman Committee, looking at the history of it, looking at what went on with it. I think they were very successful,” Clyburn said. “We came out of World War II with restructuring some things.”
Follow Carolina Journal Online’s continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact in North Carolina. You’ll find the latest reports here.