Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged congressional Republicans to resist voting to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, which will likely cast a spotlight on his role in the deadly riot, calling the effort a “Democrat trap.”
“Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission,” Trump wrote in a statement Tuesday night. “It is just more partisan unfairness and unless the murders, riots, and fire bombings in Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, and New York are also going to be studied, this discussion should be ended immediately.”
According to the Washington Post, Trump has privately acknowledged that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was bad but fears public criticism. He also fears the commission will be used to attack him, people familiar with his views on the subject told the Post.
In his statement Tuesday, the former president also sought to wrangle GOP leaders in both chambers of Congress against the effort as the House prepares to vote on the issue on Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) came out against the commission on Tuesday, providing a laundry list of reasons why he opposes it, including the narrative hoisted by Trump about Democrats ignoring “the political violence that has struck American cities.”
Despite condemning Trump for the riot early on, McCarthy has since rallied against reckoning with the events of Jan. 6, which if further scrutinized would likely also involve a dissection of his own conversations with Trump and others at the White House during the Capitol attack.
McCarthy could be asked by the commission to address those conversations and Trump’s apparent rejection of his plea to tell his supporters to back down from interfering with the validation of election results at the Capitol.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump reportedly said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) meanwhile said on Tuesday he would be “pushing the pause button,” on the legislation to form the commission, which is expected to pass the House this week.
McConnell told reporters that his caucus is “undecided” but “willing to listen to arguments” about whether or not the commission is needed. Two sources told Axios that behind closed doors, McConnell was opposed to the commission in its current form.
McConnell’s hesitancy and effort to stall means the bill is likely to face challenges in the Senate, where Democrats will need at least 10 GOP votes to pass it.