House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday said former Vice President Joseph R. Biden should put his presidential campaign on hold during the Senate impeachment trial, saying 2020 contenders who won’t be stuck in Washington, D.C., stand to benefit from the proceedings.
“With Iowa quickly upon us in early February, those four senators who are running for president will now no longer have a voice,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, told reporters. “The only rightful thing of Joe Biden is to make a pledge not to campaign [when] Bernie Sanders cannot.”
He said it would be “interesting” if the Democratic National Committee asked other candidates not to campaign “when others cannot.”
Mr. McCarthy has previously said he thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held onto the articles of impeachment for several weeks after the House approved them to hurt the campaign of Mr. Sanders, who establishment Democrats are eyeing warily amid his rise in some recent polling.
“Senator Sanders actually has a chance to win, but not now that Nancy Pelosi has held these documents,” he said on Tuesday.
In addition to Mr. Sanders, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are the other sitting U.S. senators still actively running for president.
The House is set to vote Wednesday on a resolution to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, setting the stage for the trial to potentially kick off next week with about two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses.
House Democrats have accused President Trump of improperly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce politically beneficial investigations, including into Mr. Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.