“I will pursue as my primary goal in life the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman.”
— O.J. Simpson, vowing to find the real killers
“We will run our own investigation.”
— Kevin McCarthy, vowing to find the real insurrectionists
Last Thursday was another key day in House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy’s pitched battle against reality — and the English language.
On abortion: “We’ve watched babies survive at 13 weeks and others, that be as small as an M&M wrapper and be able to have life,” he told California’s KGET-TV.
An M&M wrapper? An Eminem rapper?
On Afghanistan: “We’ve watched the biggest military failure that we have watched in my history of my life.”
Vietnam must not be in his history of his life.
And then, the coup de grace. How deeply, an interviewer asked, was President Donald Trump involved in the events of Jan. 6?
“The FBI has investigated this,” McCarthy replied. “The Senate had bipartisan committees that come back. And you know what they have found? That there is no involvement.”
No involvement! No collusion! It was a perfect call.
To the extent that McCarthy has control over what comes out of his mouth, what he voiced was a lie. The Senate probe avoided the question of Trump’s role, and the FBI has reached no such conclusion. (McCarthy was apparently referring to a Reuters report citing anonymous sources on whether Jan. 6 was the result of a centrally controlled conspiracy.)
McCarthy himself spoke to Trump during the deadly attack. Trump told McCarthy: “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” Afterward, McCarthy announced, accurately: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”
But now McCarthy embodies the corruption of truth that has consumed the GOP. He led the effort to kill an independent, bipartisan Jan. 6 commission negotiated by his own point man. He then marshaled Republican votes against the bill creating the House select committee to scrutinize the attack. Next, he appointed two saboteurs to the committee (one with an obvious conflict), and when Speaker Nancy Pelosi objected, he called a Republican boycott of the panel.
Now he’s threatening telecom companies that cooperate with the committee’s request to preserve phone and social media records of people (including lawmakers) who may have been involved in the insurrection. A future “Republican majority will not forget,” he threatened, and would hold cooperating companies “fully accountable.”
What did McCarthy mean? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), a rising power in the House GOP, explained on Fox News that if telecom companies “go along with this, they will be shut down — and that’s a promise.”
These would seem like the actions of an authoritarian state, but Justice McCarthy assures us that “the Supreme Court” supports his position.
Of course, McCarthy hasn’t launched the Republicans’ Jan. 6 “investigation” he promised in July. House GOP aides told the Daily Beast “they hadn’t seen any indication that such a probe is imminent.”
Instead, House Republicans rally around the perpetrators of Jan. 6. Twenty-one of them voted against honoring the police for their heroism during the insurrection. More than a dozen demanded that Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) be expelled from the GOP caucus for serving on the select committee.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) last week joined the swelling ranks of House Republicans championing those facing charges for their actions on Jan. 6. Calling them “political hostages” and “political prisoners,” he warned of future “bloodshed” if our elections “continue to be stolen” and said, “We are actively working on” another mass action in Washington. “We have a few plans in motion I can’t make public right now,” he said. “There are a lot of Republicans who don’t want to talk about this.”
Cawthorn (who hasn’t been punished or even contradicted by McCarthy) denied he was encouraging violence. But hundreds of far-right activists, organized by a former Trump campaign operative, are planning to come to the Capitol on Sept. 18 to seek “justice” for those detained on charges related to the insurrection.
Maybe this is the “investigation” McCarthy had in mind?
As The Washington Post’s Paul Kane noted over the weekend, former House speaker Paul Ryan and even former Vice President Mike Pence have participated in a post-Trump lecture series at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Pence recalled how he and lawmakers “fulfilled our duty” on Jan. 6 to certify President Joe Biden’s win. Ryan condemned “the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy — “my Kevin” to Trump — was one of those “flatterers” flocking to Mar-a-Lago soon after the insurrection, and again in July. He “regularly boasts of his calls with the ex-president,” Kane wrote.
Very chatty! But when it comes to the first sacking of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812, McCarthy zips it. “There’s nothing I have that can add to that day,” he said last week.
Rest assured: He’s still seeking the real culprits — just like O.J.