GOP in disarray
President Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had a "tense, 30-minute-plus phone call" Monday morning, during which Trump ranted about election fraud and McCarthy cut him off, saying: "Stop it. It's over. The election is over," Axios reported Monday night, citing a White House official and another source familiar with the call.
Trump also tried to deflect responsibility for his role in inciting a deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, telling McCarthy "antifa people" were responsible for the violence, Axios reports. McCarthy reportedly shot back: "It's not Antifa, it's MAGA. I know. I was there." Conservative cable news and other media has tried to pin the blame for the insurrection on leftist groups, antifa specifically, though there's clear and documented evidence the violence was perpetrated by Trump supporters, QAnon conspiracists, and far-right militia groups.
McCarthy also told his House GOP caucus on Monday that there is "indisputably" no evidence of antifa involvement in the Capitol siege, Axios reported, adding that as he tries "to navigate how to bridge the factions within the party," McCarthy "is treading carefully by telling members Trump is partially to blame for what happened without condemning him outright."
McCarthy told House Republicans on the two-hour call that Trump accepts some responsibility for the siege, too, Politico reports, citing four GOP sources on the call. Trump has not publicly taken any responsibility for the assault, even though he urged the supporters to march to the Capitol and fight for him. Emotions are "still running high in the conference," with many GOP members blaming McCarthy and his top lieutenant, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), for going along with the 120 House Republicans who continued challenging President-elect Joe Biden's win even after the riots, Politico says.
One freshman Republican, Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.) said on the call she's "disappointed" that "QAnon conspiracy theorists" are not only leading the party, but also led the objections after members of Congress had to walk by a crime scene to get back to work Wednesday night, Politico reports. And Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), one of a handful of House Republicans weighing voting to impeach Trump, slammed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) for tweeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calf.) location during the siege, putting all members at risk. Boebert raised hackles on the call by suggesting Capitol Police had been involved in the siege, Politico says.