Kevin McCarthy: Who Among Us DIDN'T Help Incite The Capitol Attack?
The GOP proudly declares itself the party of personal responsibility, so House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hasn't shied away from admitting who's responsible for the January 6 insurrection. After concluding a thorough, Columbo-style investigation into that unpleasantness, he's confirmed that everyone's responsible for a violent mob storming the Capitol. He sounds like a college professor at Berkeley explaining why everyone's to blame for global warming.
McCarthy is on the former White House occupant's shit list because he apparently “bowed to pressure" when he said on the House floor that “the president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters." McCarthy still voted against the insurrectionist-in-chief's second impeachment, but that just wasn't good enough. Now McCarthy is backpedaling like a coward strapped to a Peloton.
Here's what McCarthy told Greta Van Susteren during an interview this weekend:
MCCARTHY: I thought the president had some responsibility when it came to the response. If you listen to what president said at the rally, he said "demonstrate peacefully."
Donald Trump used the words “fight" or "fighting" 20 times in his unhinged rant. He said “demonstrate peacefully" just the once, and it wasn't as if he wrote the phrase on a woman's naked body like George Michael in the "I Want Your Sex" video. It was easy to miss.
MCCARTHY: And then I got a question later about whether did he incite them. I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility.
This is bullshit abuser rhetoric. Eighty-one million Americans forced the MAGA mob to attack Congress because we rejected their mad king. Garret Miller from Texas, who was arrested last week for his involvement in the siege, tweeted “Assassinate AOC," in reference to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while inside the Capitol. The GOP's sick demonization of this woman, who's not some existential threat to America, is why she rightly feared for her life that day.
Republicans want to feign shock that a “Save America" rally based around “stopping the steal" somehow turned violent. Mitch McConnell said last week that the mob was "fed lies" and provoked by the presidential impersonator. McCarthy enabled these lies and provocations, refusing to publicly admit Joe Biden was president-elect. The election was over and there was no legal way to change that outcome. Even so-called “moderate" Susan Collins used mealy mouth terms such as “assuming [Biden] prevails" days after Biden had objectively prevailed.
The MAGA mob assembled January 6 fully believing its cult leader could win an election he'd lost at the ballot box and in the courts repeatedly. This was presented as a last stand, but Republicans pretend like the rally was some harmless Travis Bickle cosplaying event.
Missouri GOP Senator Josh Hawley, currently facing ethics charges for helping incite the mob, ludicrously claims, "I was very clear from the beginning that I was never attempting to overturn the election." He was just wasting everyone's time like a jackass. That's his defense, and it's all lies.
This is a lie. Jan 4 BAIER: Are you trying to say that, as of January 20, that President Trump will be president… https://t.co/InP0nYt08R— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper)1611409456.0
The Monday before the siege, Bret Baier at Fox News asked Hawley point blank if there was a chance Biden's predecessor could serve a second term, and Hawley said, “That depends on what happens Wednesday. I mean this is why we have the debate."
McCarthy said before the joint session: "I think it's right that we have the debate. I mean, you see now that senators are going to object, the House is going to object — how else do we have a way to change the election problems?"
But there was no legitimate “debate" to be had: Biden won the election. McCarthy claimed the electoral vote count was the only way to “change the election problems," which didn't exist. Members of McCarthy's caucus, such as Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, spent months lying to Americans that the election was “stolen," and when Brooks spoke at the rally, he asked if the MAGA mob was "willing to sacrifice their blood, sweat, tears, livelihoods and even their lives."
Liz Cheney, one of a few Republicans who's almost respectable, correctly observed that the electoral count wasn't the place to debate election reform for future elections. The results of the 2020 election couldn't be changed, but the sitting president refused to concede this reality. The Republicans who refused to confront his deluded, democracy-shredding lies, share the blame what happened on January 6. Biden voters' hands and souls remain clean.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."