House

Cheney said McCarthy, lawmakers were ‘scared’ by rioters

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) answers questions following a press event to introduce the newest member, Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) outside at the Capitol Steps on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Greg Nash
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) answers questions following a press event to introduce the newest member, Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) outside at the Capitol Steps on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in her opening statement at a public hearing of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot said lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), were “scared” by the rioters who breached the Capitol that day.

“Secret Service agents protecting the vice president were exceptionally concerned about his safety and their own,” Cheney said. “Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was scared, as were others in Congress. Even those who themselves helped to provoke the violence.”

Cheney and McCarthy have openly feuded over the past year, in large part because of Cheney’s vocal criticism of former President Trump and his conduct after the 2020 election.

Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who has also been openly critical of McCarthy, noted the GOP leader’s initial public statements placing blame on Trump.

“One week after the attack, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged the simple truth: President Trump should have acted immediately to stop the violence,” Kinzinger said.

The committee played a clip of McCarthy speaking on the House floor on Jan. 13, 2021, saying that Trump bore responsibility for the Capitol attack and should have “immediately denounced the mob.”

Cheney also noted that almost no Republicans in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6 would defend President Trump, but that soon changed.

While McCarthy originally condemned Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riots, he quickly made amends with the former president. In late January 2021, McCarthy traveled to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump.

McCarthy is eyeing the Speaker’s gavel should Republicans retake the House majority.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Jan 6 attack Jan. 6 panel Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney
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