Former Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone secretly recorded a conversation between himself and Kevin McCarthy, and the newly-released audio reveals just how far the GOP leader was willing to go to defend Trump, even claiming the then-president was unaware of the mob attacking the Capitol.
Donald Trump, by most accounts and all available evidence, spent the afternoon of January 6th, 2021, gleefully watching the attack on the Capitol live on television after his security detail prevented him from attending in person.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke to Trump during the attack, pleading with him to take action to put an end to the violence. Trump, according to another House Member who recalled what McCarthy told her at the time, responded by saying that the attackers “are more upset about the election than you are.”
Despite that knowledge, when speaking to Officer Fanone in a recorded conversation, McCarthy denied Trump’s knowledge, saying that he didn’t think the former president knew that the Capitol breach had turned violent.
McCarthy’s comments can be heard below, as he repeatedly insists that Trump didn’t know how bad things were. In context, this comes in response to Fanone’s complaint about Trump telling the mob, after all was said and done, that their actions were justified because “this is what happens when you steal an election,” and expressing his appreciation of them.
A recording by former Capitol Police officer Michael Fanone, aired on CNN, appears to capture Kevin McCarthy claiming Trump was unaware of the severity of the violence on Jan. 6 when pressed by Fanone and the mother of Brian Sicknick. pic.twitter.com/q6daG9XSzL
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) October 10, 2022
“He wasn’t watching TV,” McCarthy can be heard claiming. “I’m just telling you that from my phone call, that he didn’t know that.”
Yet, it’s clear that the very purpose of that phone call was to ask Trump to call off the attack, and Trump refused to do so, and instead justified the violence.
McCarthy isn’t the only one Fanone is calling out. According to POLITICO, Fanone has other tapes and is sharing his story in a new book about his experience. It reveals the Trump worship in the Republican Party — even in the immediate aftermath of the attack, including Senator Lindsey Graham snapping at the mother of a fallen officer for daring to criticize Trump — and police leadership trying to dodge the issue because of partisan politics.
Ironically, there’s no sign this devotion will even help McCarthy politically, as a significant portion of MAGA voters and legislators have turned against him.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.