CNN: Trump Defended Rioters To McCarthy During Capitol Attack

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) talk during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress has reconvened to ratify Pres... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) talk during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress has reconvened to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump, hours after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol and disrupted proceedings. (Photo by Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
February 12, 2021 7:28 p.m.

Right in the middle of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, then-President Donald Trump defended the attackers to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), CNN reported Friday

“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump reportedly told McCarthy. 

“Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” McCarthy responded, according to CNN. 

The stunning exchange came during a phone call between Trump and McCarthy. CNN attributed the description of the call to lawmakers to whom McCarthy described the exchange afterward.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

CNN reported that its sources described the call as a shouting match. 

Trump’s comment reportedly came after a heated exchange between the two men during which McCarthy attempted to get Trump to call off his supporters who were laying siege to the Capitol. 

In response to McCarthy’s call for help, Trump reportedly said that the people attacking the Capitol were “antifa” — short for anti-fascists — rather than Trump supporters. That lie has circulated far and wide among Trump’s allies since the attack, but it’s baseless. 

McCarthy reportedly pushed back, telling Trump that the attackers were his supporters. 

It was at that point that Trump said that he guessed the attackers were simply more upset about the election than the House minority leader. 

One of the report’s authors, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel, discussed the report on air Friday. 

Gangel mentioned that one member of Congress who McCarthy had briefed directly on the call on Jan. 10, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), confirmed the exchange with CNN. 

“That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn’t care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was OK with it, which makes me so angry,” Herrera Beutler told CNN.

Several other Republican members told CNN that McCarthy “wasn’t shy” about the exchange, Gangel said.

Herrera Beutler was among 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump last month. McCarthy voted against impeachment.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: