The New York Times reported in February that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told her that former President Donald Trump had sided with the insurrectionists during a phone call that took place as the Jan. 6 attack unfolded.
Herrera Beutler recounted in a statement “a phone call relayed to her by Mr. McCarthy of California, the minority leader, in which Mr. Trump was said to have sided with the rioters, telling the top House Republican that members of the mob who had stormed the Capitol were ‘more upset about the election than you are.’”
By Ms. Herrera Beutler’s account, Mr. McCarthy called Mr. Trump frantically on Jan. 6 as the Capitol was being besieged by thousands of pro-Trump supporters trying to stop Congress from counting Electoral College votes that would confirm his loss.
She said Mr. McCarthy asked him “to publicly and forcefully call off the riot.”
Mr. Trump replied by saying that antifa, not his supporters, was responsible. When Mr. McCarthy said that was not true, the former president was curt.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” he said, according Ms. Herrera Beutler’s account of what Mr. McCarthy told her.
CNN reported that it had confirmed the account with several other Republicans who had knowledge of the call.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call afterward by McCarthy.
McCarthy insisted that the rioters were Trump’s supporters and begged Trump to call them off.
Trump’s comment set off what Republican lawmakers familiar with the call described as a shouting match between the two men. A furious McCarthy told the then-President the rioters were breaking into his office through the windows, and asked Trump, “Who the f–k do you think you are talking to?” according to a Republican lawmaker familiar with the call.
Asked on Thursday if he would be willing to share details about the call with a Jan. 6 commission, McCarthy signaled that he would, The New York Post reported, responding: “Sure, next question.”
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain ; Screengrab / PBS NewsHour / YouTube