House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., continued the Republican assault on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for his comments last week about Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

McCarthy said that Schumer’s comments, which came as the court heard arguments in a high-profile abortion case, were meant to influence the justices’ decisions and that Democrats in the Senate should replace the New York senator as their party’s leader.

“He's standing before the Supreme Court trying to influence the outcome in America,” McCarthy said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We believe we encourage the exchange of ideas not to the idea that you're going to intimidate.”

McCarthy added: “If I was a Democrat in the Senate, I would have changed my leadership if this was what was happening.”


Schumer has taken heat following his comments at a pro-choice rally last week, where he called the case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, the first "major" abortion case since President Trump's court picks have been on the bench. The dispute, dealing with restrictions over who can perform abortions, involves a Louisiana law similar to one in Texas that the court ruled unconstitutional in 2016, before either Trump justice was on the Supreme Court and before conservatives held a 5-4 majority.

"I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!" Schumer warned. "You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."

Video of the remarks quickly circulated on social media, with Republicans casting the warning as a threat against two sitting Supreme Court justices.

Schumer attempted to walk back his statements, claiming his words didn't come out right because of his state of mind at the time.

“I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat,” he said on the Senate floor Thursday. “I feel so deeply the anger of women all across America about Senate Republicans and the courts working hand in glove to take down Roe v. Wade."

Hours after the rally where Schumer appeared, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement singling out the senator's comments.


“Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous," Roberts said.

It was only the second time the chief justice has responded to criticism of individual judges. In 2018, Roberts rebuked Trump for the president's criticism of an "Obama judge." But Roberts has otherwise stayed silent, including in recent weeks when Trump questioned the impartiality of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, and of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who presided over the trial and sentencing of Trump ally Roger Stone. Senate Republicans did not criticize those comments.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., himself came under criticism in August when his campaign tweeted a photo of signs that were shaped like tombstones with names of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Democrat Amy McGrath, McConnell's likely 2020 election opponent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.