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.”
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.
McCarthy has not walked back his statements.