It was last month when Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, wrote a column in which he described House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as "the United States' most disgraceful political leader." Gerson added, "Seldom has a political figure misunderstood his country and its challenges more comprehensively than McCarthy."
The criticism was well grounded. Three days after the 2020 presidential election, McCarthy told Fox News viewers that Donald Trump had won the election he'd lost, and Republicans "cannot allow" Democrats to proceed as if they won the elections, just because Democrats had won the elections. A month later, McCarthy signed his name to a ridiculous legal brief, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn election results for no reason.
The month after that, on Jan. 6, after an insurrectionist mob launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, two-thirds of the House Republican conference voted against certifying President Joe Biden's victory. McCarthy, the would-be House Speaker if Republicans reclaim the majority next year, sided with his right-wing colleagues against democracy.
Yesterday, as CNN reported, the House GOP leader seemed a little touchy about all of this.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to rewrite history on Thursday by claiming that he was not involved in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election in a heated exchange during a news briefing. When asked by CNN's Manu Raju why it was acceptable for him to support Trump's efforts to overturn the presidential election in Congress but to criticize Democrats for doing the same in a contested Iowa US House race, McCarthy repeatedly rejected the notion that he was trying to overturn the election at all.
Reminded that he participated in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, McCarthy insisted, "You're saying something that is not true."
The facts suggest otherwise, and CNN's report added that the House minority leader's explanation "flies in the face of reality."
The crux of McCarthy's argument is that he only balked at some of the 2020 election results. "If you challenge Arizona and Pennsylvania, would that have changed and lowered President Biden's numbers below 270?" the GOP leader asked, apparently referring to his Jan. 6 efforts.
Or put another way, McCarthy's pitch, in effect, is that he rejected part of democracy, but he didn't necessarily reject enough of democracy to really matter.
If he expects this to serve as an effective defense of his antics, McCarthy is likely to be disappointed.