House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy once supported a January 6 commission to investigate what happened on the day of the insurrection, what led up to it, and why. How could thousands of people storm Capitol Hill, and at least hundreds breach the halls of Congress in an attempted coup as lawmakers met to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities to certify the results of a free and fair election?
Last week McCarthy threw cold water on a bipartisan agreement for a bill that would create the group. Now, on Tuesday, he has announced he opposes a commission entirely.
That's quite a turnabout, given his prior stance, the reported screaming phone call he had with then-President Donald Trump during the attack on the Capitol, his speech on the House floor after the insurrection, and his now-revoked claim that Trump bore responsibility for the riot.
Republican lawmakers in the House last week lied about the insurrection, with one claiming "there was no insurrection," and another insisting it looked like a normal tourist visit. The GOP's goal: make Americans believe it did not happen.
A January 6 commission would do the opposite of that.
"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 in a statement. “The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican Congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021."
Republicans have tried to equate the nationwide, almost entirely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests with the Capitol coup, hoping to use the commission as a political tool to attack Democrats.
"Of course" McCarthy opposes the commission, HuffPost Senior politics reporter Jennifer Bendery says. "Trump's lies about election fraud fueled a violent mob -- and GOPers like McCarthy echoed those lies for months."
"Don't forget McCarthy amplified Trump's lies more than just about anyone," she adds. "After Biden won, on Fox News: 'Trump won this election. Everyone who's listening: Do not be quiet. Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.'"
Attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa adds:
McCarthy is a major fact witness in Jan. 6 and has a self-interest in not uncovering what happened (or testifying). This is a replay of the GOP attempt to scuttle the Russia investigation, and later the Ukraine impeachment. Rinse and repeat. https://t.co/cVFLSsriFd
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) May 18, 2021
Other journalists, legal experts, and political commentators are also weighing in, sharing why they believe McCarthy has done a complete turnaround. Many are suggesting his opposition to the commission is because he bears some responsibility for the events on January 6.
As one of the people who spoke with Donald Trump during the insurrection, Kevin McCarthy must testify. He has direct knowledge and a first-hand account. His conversations with Trump that day are not in any way, shape or form privileged. https://t.co/qlb3io864T
— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) May 18, 2021
Sorta feels like an “open-air cover-up." https://t.co/90GrHppEP2
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) May 18, 2021
Reminder that when McCarthy went into hiding from the insurrectionists, he found Trump so disinterested on the phone that he called into Fox News live to try and get the president to understand the gravity of the situation https://t.co/DNLQX5KkE6
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) May 18, 2021
Kevin McCarthy is nothing more than a spineless suck up, and traitor to our democracy. Replay his statements and report his actions during the insurrection when he was begging for help!https://t.co/HNfx0HKj9e
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) May 18, 2021
McCarthy's stated reason for opposing the Jan. 6 commission is that Pelosi "refused to negotiate in good faith on basic parameters" for it.
Except Pelosi agreed to virtually all of the GOP's demands: *Equal representation *Shared subpoena power *Report due by year's end — Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) May 18, 2021
So it should be no surprise that Kevin McCarthy is going to do everything he can to dispute, derail and discredit a commission focused on what happened on Jan. 6.
Surely Dems know this. — Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) May 18, 2021
This tweet by Kevin McCarthy is still up, comparing Biden's electoral win to a "battle." pic.twitter.com/z6kjLh3n91
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) May 18, 2021
We know GOP members gave tours of the Capitol. We know they spoke at the rally. We know they were communicating with the terrorists. We know McCarthy begged Trump for help. We now know that @GOPLeader desperately wants to cover it up. Investigate Congress now! #NeverMoveOn
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) May 18, 2021
3/ More important in their minds is something darker.
They see the majority in their grasp, and just as they did in the states this year, they'll strike quickly, mercilessly, and without a moment of hesitation of a scintilla of shame to make the next election the last. — Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 18, 2021
4/ For them, the problem wasn't an attack on our republic and a democratic election. For Kevin and Co, the problem was that it didn't work the first time. They need the shock and awe, the spectacle, the Trumphadi terror threat out there.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 18, 2021