McCarthy says Democrats using Jan. 6 as ‘partisan political weapon’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) acknowledged the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attacks in a letter to his GOP colleagues on Sunday, accusing Democrats of using the events as a “partisan political weapon.”
“As we have said from the start, the actions of that day were lawless and as wrong as wrong can be. Our Capitol should never be compromised and those who broke the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full accountability,” McCarthy wrote in the letter.
“Unfortunately, one year later, the majority party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again,” he added. “Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country.”
McCarthy added that Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), ranking member of the House Administration Committee, would be sending out a memo on steps congressional offices can made to protect the Capitol from future threats, “steps that the current majority party is negligent in acting upon.”
His criticism of the Jan. 6 investigation comes after he pulled all of his GOP candidates from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 to protest House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-Calif.) decision to reject two of his picks.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said in a statement at the time.
Pelosi appointed Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.) to sit on the committee, and Cheney was named vice chair. More than 40 conservative figures asked McCarthy last month to remove Kinzinger and Cheney from the House GOP conference “due to their egregious actions” as part of the panel.
Ahead of the committee’s first hearing in July, McCarthy questioned the committee’s ability to reach unbiased conclusions in its investigation.
“You’ve got a committee chair that questioned the election of George Bush. You’ve got a committee chair of this who was suing the president. You’ve got a committee chair of this who believes Republican senators are equal to terrorists they should be on the terrorist watch list,” the minority leader said at the time.
“Two questions for this entire committee should be: why were we so ill-prepared for that day and how can we make sure this never happens again, and that’s what should drive the committee,” he added.
Pelosi pushed back on Republican criticism at the time. “We have beautiful committee, a select committee that is bipartisan, patriotic, solemn and serious,” Pelosi said, according to CNN.
“And I hope that will save the day for our country. It was an assault on our American Capitol, our democracy, our Constitution. It requires us to act in a way that is so responsible so that the American people will have clarity,” she added.
McCarthy has personally been of interest to the panel after his phone call with then-President Trump during the insurrection. During that call, the president allegedly claimed that the rioters who supported him were more patriotic than the lawmakers under attack.
McCarthy has acknowledged the call occurred but has repeatedly declined to discuss specific details. In August, he warned the nation’s tech and telecom giants over complying with the investigators’ request to retain the phone and social media records of GOP lawmakers.
“If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law,” McCarthy said at the time.
The Hill has reached out to Pelosi and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the select committee, for a response to McCarthy’s latest comments.