A forthcoming book by New York Times journalists provides new background on how Republican leadership — namely, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) — backed down from their initial criticisms of former President Donald Trump following the attack on the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of his loyalists.
Both can be publicly displayed McCarthyAnd McConnell’s treatment of Trump in the aftermath of the attack on January 6, 2021 — and how they both stepped away from their initial reprovals of the former president — have been well-documented. But excerpts from the book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” written by New York TimesReporters offer new insights into the relationship between Republican leaders demanding Trump’s resignation and supporting his impeachment.
During a meeting with House GOP leaders, for example, immediately after the Capitol attack, McCarthy said Trump’s actions that day were “atrocious and totally wrong.” He also acknowledged that Trump had “incit[ed] people” to attack the Capitol in order to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won.
“I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy told Republican leadership, according to accounts given to the book’s authors.
Trump’s remarks before the attack took place were “not right by any shape or any form,” McCarthy said during the same phone call, questioning how Congress should respond to what the former president had done. After considering and then dismissing the use of the 25th Amendment, McCarthy told his colleagues, on a separate call on January 10, that he’d personally recommend that Trump resign before his term was set to end.
“What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” he told his fellow Republicans.
McCarthy changed his original statement after it became apparent that not all Republicans in the House shared the same opinion. McCarthy took a photo with Trump at Mar-a-Lago later that month.
“Exactly 17 days after [his January 10 conversation], McCarthy was in Palm Beach to demonstrate his continued fealty,” S.V. Dáte, White House correspondent for HuffPost, said on Twitter, sharing an image of McCarthy at Trump’s estate. “When having to choose between democracy and Trump, [McCarthy] chose Trump.”
17 days later, McCarthy was back in Palm Beach to show his loyalty.
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) April 21, 2022
McConnell also expressed support for taking action against Trumpin private conversations he had with his colleagues. McConnell, in private conversations with his colleagues, predicted that Democrats would solve this problem by impeaching Trump.
“The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us” through impeachment, he said.
McConnell also told his adviser that he expected the Senate to convict Trump in the subsequent impeachment trial — and that there were enough GOP senators to do so, hinting that he, too, could cast such a ballot. McConnell stated that Congress could vote against Trump’s ability to run for office again after the impeachment trial.
“If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is,” McConnell said.
McConnell, just like McCarthy, backed off his criticisms against Trump and voted with most of his party members to exonerate him from his impeachment trial. McConnell was questioned in a following the vote. Fox News interview whether he’d back Trump again should he run for president in 2024.
“Absolutely,” the senator said.