House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) outlined his convoluted position on how to deal with President Trump a week after insurrectionist violence left five people dead after Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
McCarthy said on Wednesday that while he did not believe President Donald Trump should be impeached with just a week left in his term, he did believe that the President was responsible for the violent mob attack on the Capitol last week.
“I believe impeaching the President in such a short time frame would be a mistake,” McCarthy said on the House floor.
“No investigations have been completed,” the top House Republican added. “No hearings have been held. What’s more, the Senate has confirmed that no trial will begin until after President-elect Biden is sworn in. But here is what a vote to impeach would do: A vote to impeach will further divide the nation. A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan division.”
Just days after the November election, McCarthy tweeted that Republicans would not back down from “battle.”
Far from over. Republicans will not back down from this battle.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 6, 2020
And even after the deadly violence at the Capitol last week, McCarthy joined a majority of his House GOP colleagues to reject the Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
McCarthy was clear, however, in pinning responsibility for the attack on Trump.
“The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate actions by President Trump: accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”
McCarthy also said Antifa was not to blame for the violence, as some on the right have claimed in recent days.
The comments echoed similar sentiments offered by other Republican lawmakers who have pushed back on an effort led by House Democrats to impeach President Trump after Vice President Mike Pence rejected a call to invoke the 25th amendment to remove the president from office after he used a rally speech last Wednesday to fuel an attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol where Congress met for a joint session to reaffirm Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
McCarthy’s plea against impeachment as the right course of action comes after at least six House Republicans on Tuesday said they planned to back the article of impeachment against Trump on the basis of “incitement of insurrection.” Additional reporting also suggested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who delivered a blistering rebuke of the President’s anti-democratic effort last week, had an appetite for impeachment.