Report: Trump-McCarthy Call Showed Reticence on Rioters

GOP lawmakers detail 'shouting match' between ex-president, Kevin McCarthy during Capitol attack
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2021 6:30 AM CST
Report: Trump-McCarthy Call Showed Reticence on Rioters
Then-President Trump, right, is seen next to Rep. Kevin McCarthy after stepping off Air Force One on May 30, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

"Tomorrow just got a lot more interesting." That was Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's take Friday night about former President Trump's impeachment trial on Saturday, which will be continuing in the wake of a new report of a Jan. 6 interaction between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. CNN has the details of a call that was said to have taken place between the two during the US Capitol attack, as McCarthy pleaded with Trump to issue a message to the rioters to back off. Per GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of the Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump, and who said McCarthy briefed her on the call, Trump kept insisting to McCarthy that it was antifa, not Trump supporters who were breaching the Capitol. Herrera Beutler says that as McCarthy tried to convince him otherwise, Trump retorted: "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

That's when Herrera Beutler says McCarthy lost his cool, yelling, "Who the f--- do you think you're talking to?," telling Trump that rioters were at that moment trying to bust into his office through the windows. Per CNN, the call showed to GOP lawmakers who knew about the call that "Trump had no intention of calling off the rioters even as lawmakers were pleading with him to intervene." The New York Times notes he put out a video message hours after the attack began, telling the rioters, "Go home. We love you. You're very special." Whitehouse now wants to suspend the impeachment trial and call witnesses, and to also find out more on what Trump knew about then-Vice President Mike Pence's status during the riot. Meanwhile, Herrera Beutler is now urging "patriots" who were with or near Trump when he spoke with McCarthy—or perhaps with Pence, who was in danger himself—to speak up now, per the AP. "If you have something to add here, now would be the time," she says. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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