The Reporter (Vacaville)

Uh oh ... McCarthy has joined the insurrecti­on


WASHINGTON >> No public figure boasts about his ignorance with as much gusto as Kevin McCarthy does.

It doesn't seem to matter what you ask the speaker of the House. He hasn't read it, seen it or heard about it.

The explosive documents from the Dominion case showing Fox News hosts privately said Donald Trump's election lies were hokum but promoted the lies on air anyway?

“I didn't read all that. I didn't see all that,” McCarthy told The Washington Post.

The way Fox News' Tucker Carlson (predictabl­y) manipulate­d the Jan. 6 security footage McCarthy (foolishly) gave the propagandi­st, giving the false appearance that the bloody insurrecti­on was “mostly peaceful”?

“I didn't see what was aired,” McCarthy asserted.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, in an implicit rebuke of McCarthy, blasting the Carlson propaganda while holding up a statement from the Capitol Police chief denouncing Fox News's “outrageous,” “false” and “offensive” portrayal of the insurrecti­on?

You guessed it. McCarthy “didn't see” McConnell do that.

The benighted McCarthy has been amassing this impressive body of obtuseness for some time. If ignorance is bliss, the California Republican has been in nirvana for years now.

How about Trump's speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, provoking the sacking of the Capitol?

“I didn't watch it,” McCarthy said.

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., calling the insurrecti­onists' rampage a “normal tourist visit?”

“I don't know what Congressma­n Clyde said,” quoth McCarthy, and “I didn't see it.”

When his own designated negotiator reached a bipartisan agreement to form a commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack (a commission McCarthy ultimately killed)?

“I haven't read through it.” Trump, in a recorded phone call, demanding Georgia's secretary of state “find” enough votes to overturn the election results?”

“I have to hear it first.” Trump telling four congresswo­men of color (three of them U.S.-born) to “go back” where they came from, prompting chants of “send her back” among his rallygoers?

“I didn't get to see the rally.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with shouts and slander just off the House floor?

“I didn't see that. I don't know what happened.”

Trump's ludicrous allegation that former GOP congressma­n and MSNBC host Joe Scarboroug­h may have murdered a staffer?

“I don't quite know about the subject itself. I don't know this subject well.”

Trump's scandalous claim that Democrats inflated the death toll from a hurricane in Puerto Rico to “make me look as bad as possible”?

“I haven't read it yet,” McCarthy pleaded.

At best, McCarthy's willful cluelessne­ss is just a dodge. But this week, McCarthy's see-noevil approach was just plain evil.

After Carlson aired his phony portrayal of the insurrecti­on, several Republican­s finally spoke up about Fox News's lies: “Inexcusabl­e and bull----” (Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C.), “whitewashi­ng” (Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C.), “dangerous and disgusting” (Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah).

Then there was McCarthy, questioned by reporters just outside the speaker's office, which the supposedly “peaceful” insurrecti­onists had ransacked that terrible day.

“Do you agree with his portrayal of what happened that day?” Raju pressed.

“Look,” McCarthy said. “Each person can come up with their own conclusion.”

Talk about dangerous and disgusting. Given a choice between fact and fiction, between law and anarchy, between democracy and thuggery, the speaker of the House proclaimed his agnosticis­m. In doing so, he threw the power of the speakershi­p behind the insurrecti­onists and against the constituti­onal order he swore to uphold. McCarthy's leadership team even endorsed Carlson's fakery, promoting a link to the segment from the House GOP conference's official Twitter account with four alarm emojis and a “MUST WATCH” recommenda­tion.

Of course, were McCarthy to turn against Fox News, the speaker, weakened by the promises he made to secure the speakershi­p, would be swiftly replaced by the likes of GOP caucus chair Elise Stefanik of New York (who claimed Carlson's propaganda “demolished” the “Democrats' dishonest narrative” about Jan. 6), or Rep. Tom Massie, R-Ky., who went on Carlson's show to congratula­te him on his deception.

So McCarthy sells out democracy to preserve his title. He gave the security footage to Carlson in the first place because he promised that to the far-right Republican­s denying him the speakershi­p during his 15-ballot quinceañer­a in January.

The internal documents exposed in the Dominion lawsuit show beyond any doubt that Fox News hosts knew the truth about the 2020 election and yet encouraged viewers night after night to believe Trump's lies.

Those hosts continue to deceive and manipulate viewers nightly.

McCarthy threw the power of the speakershi­p behind the insurrecti­onists and against the constituti­onal order he swore to uphold. It's disgusting.

 ?? ?? Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank

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