House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is facing harsh criticism for his about-face regarding former President Donald Trump’s response to the Capitol riot, which took place after a mob of his supporters, spurred by his falsehoods about election fraud, stormed the United States Capitol in a failed bid to overturn the results of the 2020 general election.
McCarthy had claimed during an appearance on Fox News that Trump had pledged to stop the attack during a phone conversation as the attack was underway. McCarthy also said that Trump didn’t know about the attack until the call, but it’s well documented that Trump spent the day watching news coverage of the attack.
“When he ended the call, he was … telling me he’ll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that’s what he did. He put a video out later,” McCarthy said, failing to note that it took hours before Trump posted a video urging his supporters to stop the violence (and telling them he “loved” them).
“Listen, my conversations with the president are my conversations with the president,” McCarthy said when pressed by host Chris Wallace. “I engaged in the idea of making sure we could stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time. The president said he would help.”
Kevin McCarthy refuses to answer Chris Wallace's question about whether it's true that Trump told him, "Well Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are" when McCarthy called and urged him to call off the insurrectionists on January 6 pic.twitter.com/cSYSPUs8OO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 25, 2021
McCarthy had initially said in the week after the attack, which claimed five lives, took place that Trump “bears responsibility” for the riot and said he’d been too slow to try and stop his supporters. His about-face did not go unnoticed.
Kevin McCarthy is a traitor and a coward.
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) April 25, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defends Trump over Jan. 6, saying on Fox that Trump didn’t know what was happening until he called — which is nonsense, since Trump watched live coverage through the day.
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) April 25, 2021
What's amazing about lickspittle Kevin McCarthy whitewashing Jan 6 by pretending Trump didn't know what was happening is that Trump basically told McCarthy that if the mob got to him, it was his own fault, if CNN's reporting is right:https://t.co/RblFL5LVCO pic.twitter.com/ZxgT89qGsB
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 25, 2021
In this clip, McCarthy is perfectly happy to provide confirmations or denials about his conversations with Trump when its flattering for him. But when asked about this quote from Trump, he says "My conversations with the President are my conversations with the President." https://t.co/ugQQQch6Bm
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) April 25, 2021
McCarthy has not walked back his statements.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.