When Trump left office, McCarthy had to decide whether to denounce him for inciting the January 6 attack or embrace him in hopes that it would help Republicans secure the majority of the House in the 2022 midterms, a feat that would most likely make McCarthy House speaker.
“He could change the whole course of history,” McCarthy said of Trump’s influence over the Republican Party in a recent New York Times interview. “This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.”
“We voted not to certify two states” McCarthy told The New York Times, pushing back on the notion that he played a role in trying to overturn the election.
However, McCarthy papered over the initial effort by House Republicans to invalidate presidential votes from six states.
McCarthy is also insisting that even if Republicans had successfully stopped the certification of electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania, the outcome would not change — Biden would still be president, and instead says the effort was an opportunity to raise concerns.
“That was the only time that we could raise the issue that there was a question in the activities in those states,” McCarthy told The New York Times.
This was not the first time McCarthy has tried to rewrite his role in the days that led to the insurrection.
McCarthy also sought to ease criticism on Trump by rejecting previous reporting that Trump told him on January 6 in a phone call that the rioters cared more about the election results than he did during an interview with Fox on Sunday.
“I was the first person to contact him when the riots were going on. He didn’t see it. When he ended the call, was saying telling me he’ll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that’s what he did. He put a video out later” McCarthy told Chris Wallace.
Wallace pushed back by saying, “quite a lot later. And it was a weak video.”
In the video where Trump tells his supporters to “go home” and “we love you,” and asks them to stop attacking the Capitol, he also repeats the lie that the election was stolen and pours more fuel on the fire that incited the insurrection in the first place.
As McCarthy continues to walk his self-imposed tightrope, his embrace of Trump comes with its own set of challenges.
“He goes up and down with his anger,” McCarthy told The New York Times. “He’s mad at everybody one day. He’s mad at me one day.”
But, at this point, McCarthy seems to have decided that riding the ups and downs of Trump and pursuing a relationship with him is better than the alternative.
“Look, I didn’t want him to leave the party,” McCarthy told The New York Times. “(Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) had stopped talking to him a number of months before. People criticize me for having a relationship with the president. That’s my job.”
Source: CNN – US News