McCarthy, November 5: "President Trump won this election"

Either I’d forgotten this clip or I never saw it, but it’s making the rounds this afternoon as a counterpoint to that self-serving Axios story that Ed blogged earlier. Supposedly McCarthy was the voice of reason during a phone call with Trump yesterday, demanding that he drop his delusions about having won the election. Enough already!

But who encouraged the president in those delusions?

Who was it who thought he could ride this tiger all the way to becoming Speaker of the House?

That was 68 days ago. Here’s where McCarthy indulging Trump in his “stop the steal” fantasies has gotten us:

Lawmakers are still reeling from the security briefing they received yesterday about hordes of crazed Trump fans descending on the Capitol on Inauguration Day to try to kill people:

“They were talking about 4,000 armed ‘patriots’ to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in,” [Dem Rep. Conor] Lamb said. “They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don’t. So this is an organized group that has a plan. They are committed to doing what they’re doing because I think in their minds, you know, they are patriots and they’re talking about 1776 and so this is now a contest of wills.”…

“It was horrifying, the most chilling hour imaginable, but I don’t want to say anything more,” said one House Democrat who participated in the phone call.

“If you weren’t afraid when you got on the call, you were afraid when you got off,” said a second lawmaker.

McCarthy himself was left to plead with Trump for help last week while the Capitol was under siege but found the president “distracted,” according to WaPo. So he did the only logical thing he could do: “McCarthy repeatedly appeared on television to describe the mayhem, an adviser said, in an effort to explain just how dire the situation was.” If you can’t call the president’s attention to an ongoing terrorist attack by contacting him directly, the only way to reach him is through his TV fixation.

That’s the sort of leadership McCarthy wanted four more years of when he went on Fox on November 5 — even before the conspiracy theories about Dominion, “ballot dumps,” and so on had reached their full flower. He was willing to back Trump’s “stolen election” narrative purely on the president’s say-so. Our reward is a budding domestic terrorist insurrection.

This guy has to go. His failure of leadership is catastrophic. The House GOP caucus can’t possibly start to wash off all of the disgrace with him as a living reminder at the top of it. And some of them seem to know it:

As lawmakers have started to fully digest the deadly turn of events that unfolded Wednesday, a cohort of House Republicans have begun to direct their outrage and frustration at their own leaders, according to interviews with nearly two dozen GOP members and aides. Privately, they say McCarthy and Scalise failed to show leadership in a time of crisis and should have done more to call out Trump for his role in the riots that left five people dead…

“There’s a little bit of anger, but a lot of disappointment,” one GOP member said in an interview. “And what you saw on display with Steve and Kevin was, eh, we’re just gonna continue on with the narrative of the right and they did not catch the moment. That’s troublesome.”

“When you’re a leader, you have to look around the corner,” the lawmaker added.

You want to know how bad things are in this caucus right now? This bad:

Such is the level of fear and distrust within the House that actual members of Congress are being screened to make sure they don’t bring weapons into the chamber. We can thank Lauren Boebert for that, after she tweeted for still unknown reasons during the attack on the Capitol that Pelosi was no longer in the House chamber. As noted in this post, some House Dems are so suspicious of their hardcore Trumpist colleagues that they want metal detectors for members of Congress on Inauguration Day — just in case some Republican tries to assassinate the new president.

This country is finished. But maybe McCarthy will be finished first, if only because his insane play to back Trump up on the “stop the steal” push has now led some major corporations to cut off donations to Republican members who tried to block Biden’s certification. You can egg on a violent insurrection that ends with a cop being beaten to death and fear no consequences from your caucus, but threaten their fundraising and suddenly you have a problem.