Much of Friday’s impeachment trial in Washington dealt with what Donald Trump knew about the MAGA riot he incited at the US Capitol last month and what he did to try to prevent it. But regardless of whether senators vote to convict Trump on his second impeachment charge, we know much more about what happened on January 6. And that apparently includes a massive shouting match between Republican leadership and Trump while rioters were inside the Capitol during the deadly attack.
According to CNN, Trump and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy got into an expletive-filled shouting match while rioters were inside the building, with McCarthy clearly labeling the people staging the attack as Trump supporters and pleading with Trump to publicly tell them to stop the insurrection which was an attempt to stop the certification of Electoral College votes that correctly said Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
According to the report, Trump refused, stating instead that rioters simply cared more about the election than McCarthy did.
“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 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.
It’s a shocking report that illustrated just how little Trump seemed to care about what happened at the Capitol at the hands of his armed supporters, even while Republican lawmakers were trapped inside as Capitol Police failed to contain the mob. The report included other quotes from Republican lawmakers that contrasted a lot of the claims of Trump’s defense throughout the week, which tried to distance Trump from the mob of his supporters who hours before the coup attempt he directed toward the Capitol.
“He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them,” a Republican member of Congress said. “On January 13, Kevin McCarthy said on the floor of the House that the President bears responsibility and he does.”
The report isn’t official testimony, of course, and it may not do much to change the direction of the Senate trial and whether Trump is held responsible by Congress. But it continues to show the reality of what Trump did (and didn’t do) on January 6, even when lawmakers on his side of the aisle were in the crosshairs of a mob that had already proved deadly.