House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has announced he will oppose a commission to investigate the events of January 6, the day a group of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the United States Capitol in a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 general election.
McCarthy’s move to oppose the bipartisan agreement comes ahead of a House vote to establish the commission.
In a statement, McCarthy accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of not negotiating in good faith.
“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” McCarthy said.
The House of Representatives reached a bipartisan agreement last week to form the commission, which would include a panel of 10 members with half of them appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, including the chair, and half by Republicans, including the vice chair.
McCarthy criticized Pelosi then, too, telling reporters at the time, “I know Nancy Pelosi played politics with this for a number of months. You’ve got to look at the build-up before, and what’s been going on after.”
McCarthy has generated controversy by joining the chorus of Republicans who have downplayed the insurrection, which resulted in five deaths.
He 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 took place that Trump “bears responsibility” for the riot and said he’d been too slow to try and stop his supporters.