Donald Trump isn’t happy with how the January 6 committee’s public hearings have been going.
And he’s directing his ire at the top Republican in the House: California Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
“This committee, it was a bad decision not to have representation on that committee,” Trump recently told conservative radio talk show host Wayne Allyn Root. “That was a very, very foolish decision because they try to pretend like they’re legit, and only when you get into the inner workings, you say, ‘What kind of a thing is this?’ It’s just a one-sided witch hunt.”
On the decision made by McCarthy, at least, he’s 100% right.
You’ll remember – and if not, I will tell you – that McCarthy initially selected five Republican members to serve on the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of them – Ohio’s Jim Jordan and Indiana’s Jim Banks – pointing out that the duo had voted to object to the 2020 Electoral College count.
At which point, McCarthy took his ball and went home.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts,” he said at the time.
That move may have helped McCarthy gain ground in the short term with the Trumpist base. But it also ensured that House Republican leaders would have no eyes inside the committee, meaning they would be playing defense, politically speaking, at every turn.
There are two Republicans on the committee, you will note. But House Republicans removed Liz Cheney from her leadership post for her criticism of Trump, and Adam Kinzinger is retiring and has made his disdain for GOP leaders plain.
The simple fact is that McCarthy’s decision to not have any members loyal to him on the committee ensured a) the pro-Trump viewpoint would not be represented in any way and b) Republicans would be fighting the committee with one hand tied behind their back.
The Point: McCarthy is not just fighting for the House majority this fall. He’s also fighting to be Trump’s pick as the next speaker. How he played the January 6 committee doesn’t help his broader case.