- Rep. Bruce Westerman grabbed a Civil War sword and hid from the Capitol riot sitting on a toilet.
- Westerman was with GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy when the riot began.
- The toilet Westerman crouched on during the fatal attack was in McCarthy’s private bathroom.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
During the Capitol attack in January, Rep. Bruce Westerman grabbed a sword and hid sitting on GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s private toilet, per what the Arkansas Republican told the New York Times in a recent interview.
As rioters stormed the building, Westerman and McCarthy retreated to the GOP leader’s Capitol office.
McCarthy’s security detail insisted that he leave when it became apparent that rioters were breaking into the building, but Westerman was left behind. With rioters storming the Capitol building, the Arkansas Republican decided his best bet was to grab a Civil War sword from a nearby office display. He then barricaded himself in the private bathroom, crouching on the toilet.
Five people died during or shortly after the Capitol attack, which was provoked by then-President Donald Trump. Trump was subsequently impeached over the fatal incident, which was intrinsically linked to his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and false claims that it had been “stolen.”
After he delivered a speech on January 6, which was when Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, Trump’s supporters marched on the Capitol building and eventually broke into it. Along the way, they damaged property and beat police.
Though Trump sparked the riot, he continues to command loyalty among Republican leaders like McCarthy as well as a significant portion of GOP voters.
McCarthy initially criticized Trump over the riot, stating that he bore responsibility for what happened. But McCarthy did not vote to impeach Trump over the incident. But Trump was still angry with McCarthy for not doing more to back his effort to overturn the election, which the GOP leader sought to justify in an interview with the Times.
“He goes up and down with his anger,” McCarthy told the Times of Trump. “He’s mad at everybody one day. He’s mad at me one day.”