'Cowards': Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy called out for caving to Trump
Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell. Gage Skidmore.

Republican leaders in Congress received harsh criticism on MSNBC on Thursday after new reporting shows how livid they were with former President Donald Trump — before they decided to support him post-coup.

The analysis came after a bombshell report by The New York Times.

"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," the newspaper reported. "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."

For analysis, MSNBC anchor Ari Melber interviewed attorney Elie Mystal, justice correspondent at The Nation magazine.

Mystal said, "in the words of the great Walter Sobchak, 'No, Donny, these men are cowards.' We've always known they were cowards, we've always known they were craven and would debase themselves for Donald Trump, but I think what this reporting shows, that we need to start thinking about with a little bit more intentionality in the media, is that who are these people afraid of? Because at the end of the day, they're not afraid of Donald Trump, they're afraid of his violent beast. They're afraid of the very people who attacked them on Jan. 6."

"We have to stop acting like the Republican base is some kind of fringe, lunatic side show. No, this is mainstream Republican politics. Mainstream Republicans are the people who attacked the nation and will continue to attack the nation until we, as an intelligent society, do something about it," Mystal said.


GOP leaders www.youtube.com

READ MORE: 'Shoes dropping like hail': Here's how Jan 6 committee's 'bombshells' have gone off even before the final report