GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy has spent the last few days enduring relentless criticism on Twitter after he claimed that "everybody across the country has some responsibility" for the January 6 Capitol riot.
McCarthy's convoluted road to the Twitter onslaught began a week after the insurrection, on January 13. That day, he did something relatively rare for House Republicans.
He criticized former President Donald Trump.
Even after Capitol riot, which many critics have argued became violent and chaotic as a result of Trump's incendiary rhetoric and months of lies about the 2020 election, most Republican lawmakers held back from criticizing Trump. Many doubled down and continued to perpetuate lies about the election.
So it was a rare site when McCarthy, while speaking on the House floor during the impeachment debate, acknowledged Trump's role in the insurrection.
"The President bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters."
"He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump."
But, as the Huffington Post reported, McCarthy later refuted his own claim when asked by reporters.
So in a recent interview with Greta Van Susteran, McCarthy was asked to clarify his dissonance.
Among other things, McCarthy made the ludicrous argument pinning the insurrection on "everybody across the country."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blames *you* as he tries to clear up his statements on whether Trump be… https://t.co/jkBqmTFe18— The Recount (@The Recount) 1611493868.0
In hindsight, McCarthy didn't think his response to Van Susteren was quite up to snuff.
So he turned to Twitter to offer what he hoped would be a helpful clarification.
It’s a call to look up from our screens and think about what we say. Unfortunately, many in the media continue to i… https://t.co/H6qgHsU62d— Kevin McCarthy (@Kevin McCarthy) 1611429134.0
If we keep doing the same thing in our politics, we cannot expect a different result. That means everyone—politicia… https://t.co/nH2TAPFqB1— Kevin McCarthy (@Kevin McCarthy) 1611429166.0
But that's not at all how that went down.
Instead, McCarthy's clarifying Tweet only served to further publicize the fact he blamed the riot on everybody instead of the select group that actually gathered to form the mob: Trump supporters, QAnon conspiracy theorists, White Supremacists, White nationalists and every overlapping combination of those like the Proud Boys and 3 Percenters.
Needless to say, as Huffington Post also noted, Twitter blasted him for not only his original comment to Van Susteren but also his general historic support of Trump's anti-democratic rhetoric and lies about the 2020 election.
Fact check: False https://t.co/BvJZtKmEhu— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1611385759.0
Kevin McCarthy is responsible. I am not. Pass it on.— Justin Horwitz 🦋 🧢 (@Justin Horwitz 🦋 🧢) 1611391339.0
Democratic Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts was not shy about criticizing his colleague across the aisle.
This is like Trump saying “fine people on both sides” at a hate rally. You own this, @GOPLeader. As the @HouseGOP… https://t.co/Dl5KFyzcaw— Rep. Jim McGovern (@Rep. Jim McGovern) 1611415881.0
Kevin McCarthy's reasoning and justification for the insurrection and violence in Washington DC is like a priest bl… https://t.co/djnrbkPylm— THE TAO OF NOW (@THE TAO OF NOW) 1611409043.0
And plenty of Twitter users launched their outrage in direct reply to McCarthy's Twitter account.
@GOPLeader Trying to blame "everyone" doesn't do anything to lower the temperature of our political discourse. Try… https://t.co/5VMkr1vRWS— Jennifer F. Murphy (@Jennifer F. Murphy) 1611431068.0
@GOPLeader YOU are one of the ring leaders of aggressive false non-factual political discourse that helped raise th… https://t.co/MWXpN0auIa— vonnie may (@vonnie may) 1611429433.0
@GOPLeader This is what those responsible have been saying for nearly 3 weeks now. "Lower the temperature." "End di… https://t.co/CePFLayGQI— 🇺🇸𝓣𝓸𝓷𝔂 𝓥𝓮𝓷𝓽𝓾𝓻𝓪🇺🇸 (@🇺🇸𝓣𝓸𝓷𝔂 𝓥𝓮𝓷𝓽𝓾𝓻𝓪🇺🇸) 1611496435.0
With Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate only days away, perhaps there will be a historical record of exactly who bears responsibility.