The GOP leader is expressing no regrets on how he handled the Capitol attack investigation, despite the former president calling his decisions “foolish.”
As Donald Trump publicly second-guesses Kevin McCarthy over the Jan. 6 hearings, House Republicans once again risk getting caught between their conference leader and the former president.
Trump’s criticism of McCarthy comes nearly a year after the minority leader yanked three picks for the Capitol riot committee in response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s veto of two others. While McCarthy didn’t run that move by his conference, House Republicans largely accepted it — some of his allies even pushed it — despite private predictions that Trump might come to dislike the panel’s lack of friendly voices.
Now the mercurial former president’s dissatisfaction is spilling into view as Trump watches hearings that home in on his election subversion and his role in the attack with no friendly Republicans to combat or distract from the select panel’s presentation. Behind closed doors, some GOP lawmakers view Trump’s pique over their boycott of the committee as a sign that the Jan. 6 hearings are breaking through with the public. But McCarthy disagrees on both fronts.
“Pelosi got to pick and choose,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday, adding that there would be “no different outcome” had he seated some of his members on the select panel. Noting that he’s recently spoken to Trump about the matter, McCarthy replied an emphatic “no” when asked if the former president’s regrets indicate the Jan. 6 hearings are proving effective.
Trump’s frustration with McCarthy is also playing out in a refusal to endorse the Californian for speaker under next year’s likely House GOP majority — despite reports that he’s privately referred to McCarthy as “Speaker.” And some Republicans on the Hill have hinted at lingering tension between the two after leaked April audio showed McCarthy suggesting he might ask Trump to resign after Jan. 6. All of which puts Republican lawmakers in an uncomfortable position, again distracted by internal warring.
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