Republican Leaders: Trump Responsible for Inciting Jan. 6 Event, He Needs To Be Gone But We Don’t Want To Offend Him
[guest post by Dana]
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Yesterday, the New York Times published a story about the ease with which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose not to do the right thing and instead, willingly sacrificed their own credibility and that of the Republican Party to maintain their power in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection. The report also revealed that McCarthy did indeed push for Trump to resign despite saying he didn’t. Clearly, he wanted to avoid offending him and possibly jeopardizing his own political future:
In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, the two top Republicans in Congress, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, told associates they believed President Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot and vowed to drive him from politics.
Mr. McCarthy went so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately: “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of Republican leaders, according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times.
But within weeks both men backed off an all-out fight with Mr. Trump because they feared retribution from him and his political movement. Their drive to act faded fast as it became clear it would mean difficult votes that would put them at odds with most of their colleagues.
“I didn’t get to be leader by voting with five people in the conference,” Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, told a friend.
McConnell was also quoted as saying:
“The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us,” McConnell told two associates just days after the insurrection, referring to the effort to impeach Trump in the Democratic-led House.
And of Trump’s guilt, McConnell was equally clear-eyed: “If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is,” he said. There was even talk that McConnell himself might vote to convict Trump in a Senate impeachment trial.
More on McCarthy:
On a phone call with several other top House Republicans on Jan. 8, Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 had been “atrocious and totally wrong.” He faulted the president for “inciting people” to attack the Capitol, saying that Mr. Trump’s remarks at a rally on the National Mall that day were “not right by any shape or any form.”
During that conversation, Mr. McCarthy inquired about the mechanism for invoking the 25th Amendment — the process whereby the vice president and members of the cabinet can remove a president from office — before concluding that was not a viable option. Mr. McCarthy, who was among those who objected to the election results, was uncertain and indecisive, fretting that the Democratic drive to impeach Mr. Trump would “put more fuel on the fire” of the country’s divisions.
On Jan. 10, Mr. McCarthy spoke again with the leadership team.
When Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming asked about the chances Mr. Trump might resign, Mr. McCarthy said he was doubtful, but he had a plan.
The Democrats were driving hard at an impeachment resolution, Mr. McCarthy said, and they would have the votes to pass it. Now he planned to call Mr. Trump and tell him it was time for him to go.
Mr. McCarthy said he would tell Mr. Trump of the impeachment resolution: “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” he said, according to the recording of the call, which runs just over an hour…
He acknowledged it was unlikely Mr. Trump would follow that suggestion.
“What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” he told the group.
It should be noted that Rep. Liz Cheney was penalized by none other than McCarthy for basically saying what McCarthy said about Trump (before he caved). The difference between McCarthy and Cheney being: she was willing to pay the political and personal price to maintain her integrity and fulfill her oath to the Constitution, while McCarthy quickly decided that the political cost wasn’t worth it. One doesn’t become Speaker of the House by turning on the leader of the Republican Party…
Anyway, McCarthy pushed back on the NYT report yesterday, saying that “The NYT’s reporting on me is totally false and wrong”:
My statement on the New York Times pic.twitter.com/PWi2WkoWzh
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 21, 2022
And this is the thing with dishonest and corrupt politicians like McCarthy: They truly believe that they are indestructible and that they can lie and lie and lie and no one will be the wiser. They count on those around them – who should be holding them accountable – to be as craven and dishonest as they are, thus allowing them to skate on their lies. (See: Trump.) Except in this case, there was audio confirmation that McCarthy did indeed say the things that he is now denying:
BREAKING: Audio recording contradicts Rep. Kevin McCarthy's denial that he said he would call Donald Trump to recommend that Trump resign pic.twitter.com/iRmSFoeQPz
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) April 22, 2022
No wonder McCarthy was and has consistently been adamantly against Nancy Pelosi’s a Jan. 6 committee and has had it out for Cheney. The man wants to become the next House Speaker, and this revelation likely won’t help him achieve that goal. Or maybe today’s GOP won’t care: “Why can’t people just move on from Jan. 6?” Additionally, while none of this is a surprise to Cheney, I can’t help but think there is some satisfaction that finally, the public can hear the audio for themselves.
Oh. There are more tapes to come, and tapes that will tell a different story than what McCarthy and friends have been trying to push about the events of Jan. 6:
"We have a lot more on tape from this period … it is sensitive, it is delicate, and we have it all on tape," New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin says. "It's going to tell a very different story about this period than the story that many people are trying to tell right now." pic.twitter.com/oaEG7qSidx
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 22, 2022
Update: “Trump & McCarthy spoke last night after audio proved the GOP leader was going to tell the former pres. to resign days following Jan. 6. Trump was reportedly not upset and reveled over his continued grip over the GOP”