- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a tense phone call with President Trump on Monday in which he told the president the election was “over.”
- After Trump said the Capitol insurrection was the work of antifa, McCarthy said, “It’s MAGA. I know, I was there,” according to Axios.
- McCarthy, a longtime Trump supporter, went on to vote against election certification in Arizona following the Capitol siege.
- The California representative is now arguing against impeachment, saying “it would only divide the country more.”
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a difficult phone call with President Trump on Monday, reportedly telling the president that his battle to overturn the 2020 presidential election was “over.”
McCarthy reportedly grew exasperated with the president after he continued to complain about election fraud.
“Stop it. It’s over. The election is over,” the California Congressman said, an anonymous White House official told Axios.
In a 30-minute call that was described as at times “tense” by participants, McCarthy took the president to task for blaming the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol on “antifa.” The FBI has categorized antifa as an ideology, not an organization.
“It’s not antifa, it’s MAGA. I know. I was there,” McCarthy reportedly said to Trump.
Trump and his followers, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, have baselessly claimed that the Capitol breach was led by antifa members impersonating Trump supporters.
On Thursday, just hours after the Capitol insurrection was quelled, Gaetz told his fellow representatives “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”
Rep. Paul Gosar made similar comments on Twitter, noting the insurrection had “all the hallmarks of an antifa provocation,” though the FBI found “no indication” that members of antifa were in any way involved in the violent uprising at the Capitol.
In a letter sent to his fellow Republican reps on Friday, McCarthy said there was “undisputedly” no evidence of antifa’s involvement and expressed frustration with the way the crisis had been handled.
“Having spoken to so many of you, I know we are all taking time to process the events of that day. Please know I share your anger and your pain,” he wrote.
He stopped short, however, of encouraging Trump’s impeachment, noting on Twitter that “impeaching the President with just 12 days left will only divide our country more.”
McCarthy has been a staunch supporter of President Trump, and repeatedly and baselessly claimed that Trump had won the presidential election.
On January 3, McCarthy told The Hill he supported challenges to Biden’s election.
“I think it’s right that we have the debate,” he said. “I mean, you see now that senators are going to object, the House is going to object – how else do we have a way to change the election problems?”
Following the January 6 insurrection, McCarthy along with other GOP House members voted in favor of decertifying Arizona’s election results, a measure that did not pass.