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The Kevin McCarthy visit to Rhode Island

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, shown speaking at a recent South Carolina fundraising dinner, was in Rhode Island Saturday to raise money for congressional candidate Allan Fung.Meg Kinnard/Associated Press

It appears that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was more excited about his visit to Rhode Island over the weekend than Allan Fung was.

McCarthy made a stop in the Ocean State Saturday to raise money for the Republicans’ best chance to win a House seat from the state in more than 30 years, but as my colleague Ed Fitzpatrick pointed out, Fung has avoided publicly discussing the visit.

McCarthy even tweeted a picture of him and Fung, but the former Cranston mayor committed a social media party foul by not reciprocating.

But McCarthy did do one interview with a member of the local media, sitting down with WJAR Channel 10 anchor and WPRO-AM morning host Gene Valicenti.


”I believe we’ll be in the majority, so of everybody in the northeast, I think they’re going to be coming to Allan to get the work done because he’ll have the most say and most input,” McCarthy said when asked what Rhode Island should expect to get out of the deal if 2nd District voters send Fung to Congress.

It was a good get for Gene, who likely commands the most eyeballs (and earballs) in the state based on his two high-profile jobs. And before you slam my inbox noting Channel 10 is owned by Sinclair, a more conservative TV company, it’s worth noting that Vice President Kamala Harris also allowed only one local TV station (Channel 12) to interview her when she visited Rhode Island last year.

Harris did allow two local journalists (me and Ian Donnis) to follow her around for the day, but she had no interest in taking our questions.

During his interview, McCarthy also claimed he’d have joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her trip to Taiwan if he were invited, but he claimed Pelosi made it partisan. When Valicenti accurately noted that Pelosi did invite a Republican on the trip, McCarthy filibustered.


McCarthy largely stuck to Republican talking points during the interview, focusing on inflation, energy costs, support for law enforcement, and enacting a parents’ bill of rights to give them more of a say in public education.

He did say that he opposes US Representative David Cicilline’s proposal to waive the interest on student loans, but said he does support making college more affordable (he didn’t say how).

Predictably, the Democratic candidates were outraged by McCarthy’s visit to Rhode Island, which is the obvious reason Fung has dodged questions about it. But McCarthy vowed to send more Republicans here to support Fung in the coming months.

”I’m not only just coming here today, but we’re going to be here for the next 94 days to make sure he gets across the district,” McCarthy said.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.