House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sidestepped a question about whether he still thinks former President Donald Trump bears responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying that information he learned since then backs up his pivoting to place blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for security failures that day.
“I think from the standpoint that we wanted to make sure that resources were brought here as fast as possible,” McCarthy said at a press conference on Thursday. “When I called the president, I was telling him about what was happening in the Capitol because none of you would know unless you were in the Capitol.”
“Lo and behold, the information we have today — I didn't know at that moment in time that Pelosi had been passed a note to call the National Guard,” he continued. “I didn't know at that time the sergeant-at-arms said he couldn't have it because of optics, because he never spoke to us.”
In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 mob that stormed the Capitol, McCarthy delivered a speech on the House floor placing some blame on Trump while also arguing against impeaching him.
“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” he said on Jan. 13.
On Tuesday, the House select committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 commission held its first meeting. McCarthy had recommended five Republicans to sit on the committee, but Pelosi vetoed two of his choices, prompting McCarthy to pull all of his recommendations.
With Republicans except for Pelosi-appointed Trump antagonists Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger locked out of the committee, Republican leadership has countered by pointing the finger at Pelosi for security failures on Jan. 6 due to her authority over the House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving. Irving had some oversight authority over the Capitol Police Board and security preparation, and Pelosi fired him after the Jan. 6 attack.
But Capitol security is not only the responsibility of the speaker. The Senate sergeant-at-arms, who was controlled by then-Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also has a role.
McCarthy, though, said on Thursday that he doesn’t view McConnell as responsible for the security failures.
“It's fundamentally different,” McCarthy said. “There's a responsibility for this Capitol on this side that rests with the speaker and the House administration.”
He pointed to past warning signs that could have prompted Pelosi to take action.
“We've watched Speaker Pelosi say during the riots over the summer, the disgust she had seeing the National Guard protecting the Lincoln Memorial,” McCarthy said. “This line was broken in the Kavanaugh debates, but no change was taken since then. In the six months since Nancy Pelosi played politics, the Senate, not one, but two committees, bipartisan, looked at this.”
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Original Author: Emily Brooks
Original Location: McCarthy sidesteps whether he still thinks Trump bears Jan. 6 responsibility