Patterico's Pontifications

4/22/2022

Republican Leaders: Trump Responsible for Inciting Jan. 6 Event, He Needs To Be Gone But We Don’t Want To Offend Him

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:57 am



[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”:

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:

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:

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”

–Dana

29 Responses to “Republican Leaders: Trump Responsible for Inciting Jan. 6 Event, He Needs To Be Gone But We Don’t Want To Offend Him”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (5395f9)

  2. Politicians are not free agents. They are professionals and their clients are the party members. When someone comes along and hijacks the party, they can either deal with it best they can or go find honest work.

    To a politicians, and particularly to a party leader, holding the party together in the face of something like Trump takes precedence over appeasing any particular side. That #NeverTrump sees them as collaborators, if not Quislings, is unfortunate, but there is really no other way when such a large portion of the party seems to be OK with Trump’s actions leading up to Jan 6th.

    That McCarthy and others work to undermine Trump in private, while playing nice-nice in public is part of that “dealing with it.” Contrast this to the Hawleys and Cruzes who liked the fancy new armbands.

    Cheney got what she go because she went outside the circled wagons. When Trump is gone, everyone will make up, although Cheney will still have to deal with the Trump dead-enders among the rank & file.

    The real question here is not “Are these guys hypocrites?” (“And your point?”, they respond), but why does such a large section of the citizenry still support this asshat? Very few people seem to care about exploring this, but it is worthy of reflection. It’s not “They’re all stupid fascists.”

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  3. There was even talk that McConnell himself might vote to convict Trump in a Senate impeachment trial.

    If Trump was going to be convicted, McConnell would have been one of the votes. It would seem that he tried to get those votes, failed, and then cast his party-line vote. I suspect that there was a block of Senators who would have voted to convict if it was going to succeed, but not otherwise. Sadly fewer than 10.

    The Senators I have a real problem with are the retiring ones who voted No. They had a free choice.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  4. A question that would have come up at the trial: If the GOP provided the votes to convict, what would that do to the GOP voter base? Would Trump attempt retribution? (of course) Would he manage to sunder the party, or get his voters to abstain in 2022 or 2024? (he’d certainly try)

    I understand that many view this as a moral choice, but “who’s naive now, Kay?”

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  5. So these highfalutin national leaders, elected to run a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, are no better than the New York City hacks that Trump paid off to get a zoning change, a building permit, or a gun permit. Maybe we do need an angry mob to storm Capitol Hill. Just not for the reasons the mob on January 6, 2021 had.

    nk (1d9030)

  6. As long as McCarthy still has Trump’s blessing, there’s no downside that he was caught in a blatant lie. This is the new reality of my party.
    The taped conversation makes clear why Ms. Cheney is so disgusted with McCarthy, who only furthered revealed himself as an unprincipled weasel and goddawful leader.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  7. The virtue posturing today is high. Next you’ll be attacking lawyers for defending guilty people. Stay out of the sausage factory if you can’t stand the sight of ground meat.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  8. I think what frosts me most about Dana’s post is the notion that “we have to punish these guys”, presumably by voting for the Democrats who are virtuous regarding trashing their enemy, Trump.

    Look, it happens to all of us in our careers that we have to work for a reprehensible boss. Our choices are “Deal with it” or “Quit” and the second one can have professional consequences*. It truly sucks, and there are really nothing but bad choices.

    It’s worse when there are only two firms, and you can’t join the other one.

    —————
    *There’s an example I can think of offhand, that I won’t bring up.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  9. A party hijacked? No, a party purging stuffed chair do nothing ideologues. Mr. Trump won his party’s nomination and the presidency by vote. Populism is well rooted and growing, watered by the very incompetence [as we’re experiencing now] of old styled, 20th century political hacks in both major parties.

    ________

    As to McCarthy— How soon conservative ideologues forget their ‘locked and loaded’ future:

    Meet the GOP’s “Young Guns”:

    The self-proclaimed “Young Guns” began plotting their rise just as many Republicans feared the party was doomed. But Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan, three young House Republicans, had a plan to move the party away from the dusty establishment and into the 21st century. “They fancied themselves the new Reagan revolution, but they represented a conservatism that Ronald Reagan never even attempted,” said Jackie Calmes, who covered their rise for The New York Times. “And it was an uncompromising conservatism, when in fact, as we remember, Ronald Reagan compromised many times. … They represent the face of a Republican Party that has moved ever-rightward as the base of the party moved South and West.”…

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/meet-the-gops-young-guns/

    Corrupt politician? Conservative idelogues swept from power best remember: “He is you.”

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  10. @2

    When someone comes along and hijacks the party, they can either deal with it best they can or go find honest work.

    That #NeverTrump sees them as collaborators, if not Quislings, is unfortunate, but there is really no other way when such a large portion of the party seems to be OK with Trump’s actions leading up to Jan 6th.

    The real question here is not “Are these guys hypocrites?” (“And your point?”, they respond), but why does such a large section of the citizenry still support this asshat? Very few people seem to care about exploring this, but it is worthy of reflection,It’s not “They’re all stupid fascists.”

    Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party. They invited him into the cockpit, let him sit in the left seat and gave him the controls.

    There have been Audits, and there have been recounts and there have been over 60 lawsuits challenging election results and yet a majority of the GOP base still believe the election was stolen. The reason a “a large section of the citizenry still support this asshat” is because right wing media and the “Quislings” in the GOP are lying to them. If The NY Times and the The Washington Post said the sun was going to rise in the east tomorrow morning, well you know how it is, you can’t trust the liberal media. When Donald Trump is gone, someone like him will see the opportunity in the Republican Party and take the captain’s seat.

    PurpleHaze (848fb6)

  11. https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/april_2022/democrats_still_believe_russia_changed_2016_election

    Purplehaze you really nailed it. A majority of a party still believes the election was stolen. Can you believe it?

    NJRob (e0fafd)

  12. As I said, virtue signalling. Not one of you has seriously considered what YOUR options would be if you had to choose between “going along” and quitting your career.

    Damn few of you would take Cheny’s path, burning their career to the ground, but then she has a family fortune behind her in case things don’t work out.

    If you cannot put yourself in the other’s shoes, and find a better path, you have no right to judge them for the path they chose.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  13. Rob, the truth of it is that both elections were equally close. Remarkably equal actually. Nearly anything could have tipped the scales the other way.

    However, “Putin” was probably a far weaker actor than the MSM was in Clinton’s favor. I think it was Clinton’s collapse that did it.

    In 2020, the most likely cause of Trump’s loss was Trump himself. Sure, they gamed the system against him, particularly with ignoring ballot access laws, but he LET THEM. He leaned into it. All he had to do was say “Go out, get an absentee ballot and vote early” and he would have won handily. But no, he made it a test of loyalty to vote only on Day-of. Idiot.

    Or, he could have shown up sober at the first debate; not sure WHAT his problem was but he was a crazy man at that debate, and people usually don’t want a crazy man as President.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  14. Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party. They invited him into the cockpit, let him sit in the left seat and gave him the controls.

    Uh, no. What they all did was waited for him to self-destruct, and avoided making his base mad so they could pick up the pieces. Funny thing though…

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  15. I think what frosts me most about Dana’s post is the notion that “we have to punish these guys”, presumably by voting for the Democrats who are virtuous regarding trashing their enemy, Trump.

    Seriously, this is what frosts you about the post???

    How about the fact that the Republican leadership lies through its teeth to stay in Trump’s good graces? How about the fact that they excoriated and punished any Republicans who stood firm for what they *knew* and know to be right?? How about the fact that, as exampled by Kinzinger, Cheney, Romney, etc, it is very possible to stay on the side of right and fulfill one’s oath and survive the onslaught of hate coming from your own colleagues! Maybe they’ll pay for their adherence to truth at the ballot box. Who knows. But if they do, they will have a clear conscience. And, of course it’s hard. Standing for what’s right usually is, and it extracts a high price.

    Additionally, nowhere in the post did the excerpted reports or myself say that voting for Democrats is necessary to punish the Republican offenders. However, if the members are fine and dandy with their leadership behaving that way, then fine. People can leave the party. And many like me have.

    Moreover, many of us who hold or have held certain types of positions in their worklife have been confronted with a situation where standing up for what is right may result in some kind of unprofessional response from a superior. And it can be very difficult. But if you can’t maintain your integrity, what have you got left? Considering the positions of McCarthy and McConnell we can be pretty darn assured that they wouldn’t be hurting for work or not making the big bucks. Everyone has a line they won’t cross. Except with Trump et al. There doesn’t seem to be a line for them.

    Dana (5395f9)

  16. @11

    Purplehaze you really nailed it. A majority of a party still believes the election was stolen. Can you believe it?

    Yes, I can believe it Rob.

    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2022/0420/Russia-says-it-s-fighting-Nazis-in-Ukraine.-It-doesn-t-mean-what-you-think

    Purplehaze (34bae0)

  17. @12

    As I said, virtue signalling. Not one of you has seriously considered what YOUR options would be if you had to choose between “going along” and quitting your career.

    Damn few of you would take Cheny’s path, burning their career to the ground, but then she has a family fortune behind her in case things don’t work out.

    If you cannot put yourself in the other’s shoes, and find a better path, you have no right to judge them for the path they chose.

    That is an excellent argument for term limits.

    purplehaze (34bae0)

  18. The problem with Congress is not “too much power” but too little. They are the group most directly responsible to the voters. But the mistakes of the 1970s are still with us, with huge regulatory agencies that make their own laws despite an otherwise divided government.

    The only way (now) to stop such laws if for the Congress to pass, and the President sign, a countervailing law. That’s hard with divided government. When these agencies were created, Congress reserved the power to veto but the Supreme Court killed that in an act of utter idiocy (INS v. Chadha).

    I suspect that if Congress had the power to change anything, voting for your Congressthing would have more meaning. But term limits now would just give the agency bureaucrats even less to worry about.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  19. As I said, virtue signalling. Not one of you has seriously considered what YOUR options would be if you had to choose between “going along” and quitting your career.

    Harrumph! Harrumph!

    nk (1d9030)

  20. Luntz and his dunce.

    mg (8cbc69)

  21. I can’t argue with Governor LePetomaine. But it isn’t their jobs they are protecting, it’s the party that they are leading though some very dark times. When Trump is gone, the GOP will still be there. They don’t have the same option you or I do, to walk away and decry the hypocrisy.

    I see this disconnect even in the title of this post. It’s not Trump they don’t want to offend. If that was it, they would kick him to the curb in an instant, and piss on him in the gutter. They hate him more than you do. The problem though, is that they have to avoid offending their base and right now their base is still besotten with Trump.

    I suspect that the GOP leadership thought that Trump was done on 1/6, and that he would just fade away in the minds of voters. Then they could just bend things back to sanity.

    But no. Not even a little bit, so they have to stay on the tiger’s back and hope it gets tired soon.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  22. I’m not arguing Kevin. If we had an unbiased media the left wouldn’t win another election. But we are stuck with American Pravda and all that comes with it unfortunately.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  23. No one comments on Cheney leaking this audio and stabbing her party leader in the back?

    I’m fine with getting rid of the current leadership of McCarthy and McConnell. Let’s elect Cruz in the Senate and Gohmert in the House. They are more in line with the base of the party.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  24. As I said, virtue signalling. Not one of you has seriously considered what YOUR options would be if you had to choose between “going along” and quitting your career.

    GMAFB. If you’re a burger-flipper or a WalMart greeter you eat humble pie to keep your job. McCarthy and McConnell couldn’t fail into financial need if they tried. Leaving Congress would only increase their earning power. The dollar cost of honesty to their constituents and fidelity to their principles would have been zero, tops.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  25. I think Dana and purplehaze have it right. But we need to understand where do GOP critics of Trumpism go to voice their discontent? FNC was corrupted early….and many of its biggest voices were seduced by access….and are irredeemably “all in”.

    Talk Radio helped fuel the desperation on the Right. Blogs rose up to provide the necessary confirmation bias. The RedState purge highlighted what happened if you drifted from the script. Talk Radio is all invested in the us vs them meme which Trump provides the kindling for. How does one steer a base that’s comfortable in its bubble? That’s the problem.

    McCarthy could certainly launch an uprising on CNN and ABC, but the result would be predictable. He would be deemed a turncoat, stripped of leadership, primaried, and run out of office. Many like Paul Ryan tired of the game and left before he compromised too much. Romney re-entered to provide that contrarian voice…..and as mg reminds us every morning….he just becomes the unearned focal point for tiresome bile. The masses don’t read National Review…and don’t gravitate to the Dispatch. It’s like watching the Ukrainians who only watch Russian-language TV (or listen to radio) and come away with the Russian propaganda that Putin is willing to negotiate and all of the problems are America’s fault. The same with Trumpism….all of the problem is an unfair media who just won’t give Trump a break…oh, and the southern border too.

    I remain convinced that something will need to break for our current course to change. We’ve had a world-wide pandemic followed by inflation and supply chain snarls…and now war and the threat of nuclear reprisals…..and we still have people that are wed to clown-car politics….and giddily ripping the country apart for some cheap ideological endorphins. This is what Putin wants. I’m just surpried that some smart people can’t see where we’re heading.

    I’m not excusing McCarthy….at all. Leadership should be about taking the reins and asserting principle. I get that it’s hard…but history will not look fondly at his cowardice….

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  26. Damn few of you would take Cheney’s path, burning their career to the ground, but then she has a family fortune behind her in case things don’t work out.

    Her “career” was a hobby.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  27. I remain convinced that something will need to break for our current course to change.

    Well, lots of people thought 1/6 would do it, but no. Trump will have to pass from the scene, either though prison or otherwise. I suspect that his choices will narrow.

    But it is imperative for the Party to keep as many of Trump’s supporters on board afterwards; they cannot win without at lease some of them. So, they bite their tongues and smile, while looking for a way to put the shiv in without getting caught.

    Probably best all around would be for Trump to take his billions and flee to Moscow, but that’s just a hope of mine.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  28. I’m fine with getting rid of the current leadership of McCarthy and McConnell. Let’s elect Cruz in the Senate and Gohmert in the House.

    Is that what you’re arguing Dana? I’d be surprised. But that is likely what will happen if the mere hypocrites are punished while the ringleaders remain in office.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  29. NJ Rob @ 23 made that argument.

    Dana (5395f9)


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