'President Trump won this election, so everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet,' Kevin McCarthy said previously.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has criticized the mob who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as well as Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans for inflaming the attempted coup.
However McCarthy's comments stand in contrast with his own past record of pushing Trump's lies undermining the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
McCarthy said Friday that he told Trump he had a "great responsibility to intervene to quell the mob."
"Over the coming weeks we will work with law enforcement to bring anyone responsible for the violence to justice. Lawlessness and extremism have no place in our way of life," he added.
According to an Axios report, McCarthy also had a phone call on Monday with Trump in which he told the White House occupant, "Stop it. It's over, the election is over."
Trump had falsely claimed "antifa" was to blame for the insurrection. "It's not antifa, it's MAGA," McCarthy responded in that call, according to a White House official. "I know, I was there."
McCarthy himself paved the way for such claims — that the attack on the Capitol was a "false flag" executed by antifa — with his remarks on Fox News the day of the Capitol insurrection.
"People came here to do some damage. I don't know who they were with," McCarthy claimed. He did not correct host Laura Ingraham when she stated without proof that "antifa was in there."
McCarthy has been backing Trump's efforts to steal the election for months — going so far as to sign on to a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the election and voting against the certification of electoral college votes.
At a press conference Nov. 4, when mail-in votes were still being tallied, McCarthy slammed a reporter who asked whether Trump ought to continue "sowing doubt about the integrity of our elections" by suggesting the 2020 race had been rigged.
McCarthy responded by dismissing the idea and falsely suggesting that people were voting after Election Day.
"What the president wants to make sure is that every legal vote is counted. The people vote up until Election Day, not the days after, as others would have," McCarthy said.
On Nov. 5, McCarthy similiarly tweeted: "We are fighting because this is NOT finished."
In a Fox News appearance the same day, he urged Trump's supporters to "stop" President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
"President Trump won this election, so everyone who's listening, do not be quiet. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes ... join together and let’s stop this," McCarthy said.
He continued on Nov. 6: "Far from over," he tweeted. "Republicans will not back down from this battle."
In a Nov. 8 Fox News appearance, McCarthy once again doubled down on his claims that the race wasn't over.
"Every legal vote must be counted. Every recount must be completed," he said. "Every legal challenge must be heard. Then and only then does America decide who won the race."
Again and again, the House minority leader has sought to sow distrust in the November election results, at times reviving the unfounded theory, as he did earlier in January, of antifa infiltrators painting pro-Trump mobs in a bad light and suggesting the country in fact backed Trump's coup attempt.
On Nov. 15, McCarthy praised "Stop the Steal" protesters who had converged on Washington, D.C., that weekend to protest the election results, resulting in the arrests of nearly two dozen people. He claimed that "tremendous crowds peacefully rallied" to support Trump, and blamed arrests on antifa.
On Dec. 9, McCarthy tweeted that YouTube was "targeting and removing videos from conservatives who expose election fraud."
"Apparently, speech is only 'dangerous' if it doesn't align with Big Tech's views," he wrote.
(There is no proof to back the claim that "Big Tech" has an anti-conservative bent — in fact, studies have shown the latter, and Trump's own social media accounts, active until just after the Capitol attack, prove the industry has let him off the hook despite repeatedly abusing their safety terms.)
Days later, McCarthy joined with more than 100 other House Republicans in signing onto a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results.
In a Jan. 2 appearance on Fox News, he demanded an election audit.
"If you want to unite this nation, you've got to start with having integrity in your elections," McCarthy said. "There's questions out there ... the American people have questions. What would be wrong with an audit?"
Two days later, in another Fox News appearance, he argued that the House should entertain debate on election irregularities to to "make sure that our elections are accountable, have integrity and are safe."
And at 12:58 p.m. on Jan. 6, while a mob of far-right rioters was harassing Capitol Police and breaching the outer perimeter of the Capitol, McCarthy defended their constitutional right to protest.
"Thank you to Capitol Police for protecting the People's House. Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful," he tweeted.
Two hours later, after they invaded the Capitol, McCarthy had an apparent change of heart.
"What is unfolding is unacceptable and un-American. It has got to stop," he tweeted.
Despite this, McCarthy voted later that night to block the Electoral College certification, which would seal Biden's victory. He defended his decision in a formal statement the next day.
"Since Election Day, millions of Americans have shared concerns about the integrity of our nation’s electoral process," McCarthy said.
"Congress has the responsibility to listen to these concerns to help heal our nation, investigate, and work with states to make necessary reforms to our electoral process, particularly when its integrity comes into question."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.