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Kevin McCarthy accuses Democrats of using the January 6 Capitol riot as a ‘partisan political tool’ to ‘divide’ the country

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

  • McCarthy said in a Sunday letter that Democrats are politicizing the January 6 riot to “divide” the US.
  • Democrats appear “no closer” to figuring out how the Capitol “was left so unprepared,” he wrote.
  • McCarthy last year opposed the creation of a bipartisan January 6 committee.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday recognized the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol and denounced the violence, while also accusing Democrats of politicizing the riot to “divide” the country.

In a letter to GOP members, the California Republican called out an apparent lack of progress in determining how the riot was able to occur.

“As we have said from the start, the actions of that day were lawless and as wrong as wrong can be. Our Capitol should never be compromised and those who broke the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full accountability,” McCarthy wrote.

He continued: “Unfortunately, one year later, the majority party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again. Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country.”

McCarthy then said that Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, would pass out a memorandum on how congressional offices can keep the Capitol secure against potential threats, “steps that the current majority party is negligent in acting upon.”

The last year was marked by a partisan tussle over the ramifications of January 6, as Democrats sought to investigate how the riot was able to transpire in the seat of the country’s government while most Republicans — who remain supportive of former President Donald Trump — sought to move on from the issue.

Last May, the House voted to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 riot, with 35 Republicans joining majority Democrats to create the panel – but McCarthy opposed its creation. 

McCarthy — who hopes to lead Republicans to a House majority in November — accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of refusing “to negotiate in good faith on basic parameters” in crafting the commission, despite Democrats accepting GOP calls for an evenly-split body with both parties having to sign off on issuing subpoenas.

Later that month, the Senate voted to reject the creation of a bipartisan commission, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky leading a GOP-backed filibuster of the legislation, calling it “slanted and unbalanced.”

In June, the House voted to create a select committee investigating the January 6 attack, and Republicans were initially supposed to be a part of the panel.

However, after Pelosi rejected McCarthy’s recommendations of Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio to join the panel, the GOP leader pulled every other Republican from the commission.

“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said in a statement at the time.

Pelosi instead appointed Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to the panel. Both members have long boasted conservative voting records, but became critics of Trump and voted for his second impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 riot.

Last month, 40 conservative figures sent a letter to McCarthy asking him to boot Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican conference “due to their egregious actions” while serving on the panel.

Before the January 6 committee held its first hearing in July, McCarthy  questioned how panel members would maintain a commitment to fairness.

However, Pelosi rejected any implications that the integrity of the committee was compromised.

“We have beautiful committee, a select committee that is bipartisan patriotic solemn and serious,” Pelosi told CNN at the time. “And I hope that will save the day for our country. It was an assault on our American Capitol, our democracy, our Constitution. It requires us to act in a way that is so responsible so that the American people will have clarity.”

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