Days after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told a local California station that Former President Donald Trump admitted to him that he bears some responsibility for the riot.
“I say he has responsibility. He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do,” McCarthy told KERN, a local radio station in Bakersfield, California, on January 12 in a clip unearthed by CNN’s KFILE.
In the same interview, McCarthy also said he supported forming a committee to investigate the attack and supported censuring then-President Trump.
“What I proposed –which I think history will say, I’m right –because it’s the right thing to do, I believe,” McCarthy said. “Have a bipartisan commission and get all your facts, actually work through the grand jury to find out at the end, instead of predetermining, whether someone’s guilty or not.”
“The one thing about impeachment, why would you run it through so fast? I say let’s put a bipartisan commission, let’s learn all the facts,” he added.
McCarthy would later oppose the formation of a bipartisan committee to investigate the attack. He also pulled all five of his GOP House members from a select House committee investigating the attack after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his choices one of whom, Rep. Jim Jordan, is now a witness.
The remarks in the interview were consistent with other comments McCarthy made in the days after the attack. During a private conference call with House Republicans one day before the KERN interview, McCarthy made it clear who deserves the blame for the insurrection.
“Let me be clear to you and I have been very clear to the President. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if ands or buts,” McCarthy told House Republicans on January 11, 2021. “I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened. If he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. But he needs to acknowledge that.”
McCarthy also admitted to being “one to the first persons to call [Trump]” on Jan. 6 while his supporters were inside the Capitol and begged him to call them off.
Reports say the call was “heated” as Trump refused to listen to McCarthy, telling him that the people storming the Capitol cared more about the election than he did.
The call is of interest to the select House committee investigating the attack since it provides information about Trump’s state of mind during the Jan. 6 attack as the violence was underway at the Capitol.
The committee invited McCarthy to testify about his conversation with Trump but he has declined calling the investigation “illegitimate.”