The televised testimony of the House of Representatives investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot that left at least five people dead, over 100 injuries to law enforcement and millions of dollars of damages began Thursday night.
As a preemptive measure, the House Republican leadership—who refused to participate or cooperate with the inquiry into the insurrection—held a press conference lead by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to discredit the committee and deflect blame.
Taking questions from the press, McCarthy was asked about statements he made previously claiming former Republican President Donald Trump was at least partly responsible for the attack on the Capitol.
After saying he'd answered the question before, the California Republican stated:
"I thought everybody in the country bared some responsibility..."
You can hear his comments here:
This was decidedly different from what McCarthy and many other Republicans said in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot.
On January 6, 2021, members of Congress were evacuated from the Capitol, sequestered in safe locations within the Capitol campus or sheltered in place in the House chamber as the violent mob of White nationalists, White supremacists and MAGA minions stormed barriers, attacked law enforcement, smashed through windows and doors, vandalized offices, urinated and defecated throughout the building, breached the Senate chamber and stole from offices and public areas while waving Trump, Confederate, White supremacist and American flags.
Condemnation of the rioters and Trump’s role was almost universal immediately after the attack.
McCarthy himself claimed to have called Trump and shouted for him to call off his followers during the riot—something others did as well. On January 13, McCarthy said on the floor of the House that Trump bared responsibility.
McCarthy has been walking those words back ever since, but the public won't let him forget.
People also weren't willing to accept McCarthy's shifted blame.
House Minority Leader McCarthy was joined onstage by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and current GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York.
Stefanik became Chair after Republican Representative Liz Cheney was stripped of the position because of her condemnation of former Republican President Donald Trump's involvement in the insurrection.
Cheney along with GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois are the only Republican members of the January 6 Committee.