GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy says that ‘everybody across this country has some responsibility’ for Capitol riots

  • Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a recent interview that “everybody across this country” is to blame for the Capitol riots.
  • McCarthy pointed to Trump, Democrats, social media, and botched public safety efforts in his reasoning.
  • He then stressed that Trump “had some responsibility when it came to the response.”
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in an interview that will air on Sunday that “everybody across this country” is to blame for the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots, just days after saying that former President Donald Trump “bears responsibility” for the siege.

The California Republican, who spoke with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren, rattled off groups that he feels have shared responsibility for the riots, which included Trump, Democrats, social media users, and law enforcement.

“I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility,” he said during the interview. “Think about four years ago after President Trump was sworn in. What happened the very next day? The title was resist with people walking in the streets.”

McCarthy then pointed to fellow a Californian, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, for her vocal opposition to Trump administration officials, before pivoting to social media discourse and members of law enforcement in further explaining his belief of collective responsibility.

“What do we write on our social media?,” he said. “What do we say to one another? How do we disagree and still not be agreeable even when it comes to opinion?”

He added: “The FBI knew that this was planned. The FBI knew so many days in advance…told the Capitol Police. I am the Republican leader…no one told us. What did the sergeant-at-arms know? Why didn’t he allow the National Guard in there? These are the people that have a great deal of responsibility for protecting the Capitol and letting the Capitol get broken into.”

Five people were killed in the riots, including Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer.

While debating Trump’s impeachment on the House floor on Jan. 13, McCarthy criticized the former president’s role in the riots, a rare time when he publicly strayed from him.

Read More: Mitch McConnell is telling GOP senators their decision on a Trump impeachment trial conviction is a ‘vote of conscience’

“The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” he said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

However, during a Jan. 21 press conference, McCarthy claimed that Trump didn’t incite the rioting.

“I don’t believe he provoked, if you listen to what he said at the rally,” he said.

When speaking with Van Susteren, McCarthy denied that he shifted his position about Trump’s role in the riots.

“No, I have not changed in that,” he said. “What I said, I thought the president had some responsibility when it came to the response.”

McCarthy then said that government officials need to find out what went wrong in preventing the riots.

“I think this is what we have to get to the bottom of, and when you start talking about who has responsibilities, I think there’s going to be a lot more questions, a lot more answers we have to have in the coming future.”

House Democrats, with the aid of 10 Republican members, impeached Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” becoming the first president in US history to be impeached twice. In 2019, Trump was impeached by the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over the Ukraine scandal.

Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is set to begin on Feb. 9.

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