It would be delightful if House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) latest version of reality were true. Alas, it is not.
Hours after Rep. Liz Cheney was ousted from her Republican leadership position for rebuking former President Donald Trump's ongoing claim that the election was "stolen" from him, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters, "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."
During a brief Q&A in front of the White House, the House GOP leader added, "I think that is all over with."
Well, it certainly should be all over with. There has never been any sane reason to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election results, so if McCarthy were right, and Americans can safely assume that his party has moved on, it'd be a heartening development.
The trouble, of course, is that the House minority leader's claim was wildly at odds with reality.
First, there was an obvious problem with the timing of McCarthy's comments. Yesterday morning, he and his Republican colleagues ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from the House GOP leadership team, in part because she rejected her party's lies and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. For McCarthy to declare, just a few hours later, that he doesn't believe "anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election," was laughable.
Second, McCarthy may not fully appreciate just how flawed a messenger he is for this message. After all, in the wake of the 2020 race, he told the public that Trump had won, asked the Supreme Court to help overturn the election, and then voted to reject election results he did not like. "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election"? Has McCarthy told that to the guy he sees in the mirror?
And third, Donald Trump continues to insist, on a regular basis, that his defeat was illegitimate. The failed former president has even suggested to some that there may be a way to undo his defeat and claim power he didn't earn.
More than a few of Trump's allies on Capitol Hill continue to read from a similar script.
None of this has been lost on rank-and-file Republican voters, a majority of whom continue to tell pollsters that they do not see President Joe Biden's victory as legitimate.
The New Yorker's Susan Glasser recently noted in response to the polling data, "This is a big red flashing light of trouble for American democracy." Evidently, Kevin McCarthy has not noticed such a light.