At this point in time, the Republican Party appears to be largely circling the wagons, so to speak, hoping to not allow the Democrats in charge of the January 6th select committee any sort of angle of attack as the 2022 midterms approach.
It has been understood for some time that the committee is using their position to conjure doubt about the intentions of the right side of the aisle, throwing around words like “insurrection” and “autocracy”, all while the DOJ works up sedition charges against the participants of the event.
But in this fortifying of the Republican ramparts, there appear to be some cracks developing, some stemming from comments that are nearly a year old.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly and privately in the days following the deadly riots at the US Capitol that President Donald Trump admitted personally bearing some responsibility for the attack — one of several reasons why the select committee on January 6 wants to hear from the House’s top Republican.
McCarthy shared the details of his conversation with Trump in a little-noticed local radio interview done a week after the insurrection, in which McCarthy said he supported a committee to investigate the attack and supported censuring then-President Trump. While McCarthy made similar comments about supporting censure and a bipartisan commission in other places around the same time, the radio interview — in which McCarthy has harsh words for Trump and strongly condemns the violent attack — provides yet another example of how the California Republican has shifted his tone in the year since the insurrection.
It will be hard for McCarthy to massage the meaning behind his statements.
“I say he has responsibility,” McCarthy said on KERN, a local radio station in Bakersfield, California, on January 12 of last year. “He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do.”
McCarthy had previously been cooperating with the J6 committee, but has recently and abruptly shifted course.