House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republican lawmakers that when he spoke with Donald Trump during the attack on the US Capitol, the then-president said the rioters cared more about the election than he did, CNN reported Friday.
The broadcaster described the call as “expletive-laden” when McCarthy asked Trump to publicly “call off the riot” and told him the violent mob was made up of Trump supporters, not far-left antifa members.
According to lawmakers, McCarthy told lawmakers the president said: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
That comment set off what was described as a shouting match between Trump and McCarthy.
The House Minority leader told Trump that rioters were breaking into his office through the windows and said to the then-president: “Who the fuck do you think you are talking to?”
Republican members of Congress told CNN that the call revealed Trump had no intention of calling on the rioters to stop the violence.
“He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them,” a Republican member of US Congress told the outlet. “On January 13, Kevin McCarthy said on the floor of the House that the president bears responsibility, and he does.”
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who was one of 10 GOP House members who voted to impeach Trump, urged people with knowledge of conversations Trump had during the January 6 Capitol riot to come forward.
“And to the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” she said.
US House members who are acting as prosecutors in the impeachment say Trump was the “inciter in chief” who spread election falsehoods, then encouraged supporters to come challenge the results.
On Friday Trump’s defense team denied he had incited the deadly riot and said his encouragement of followers to “fight like hell” at a rally that preceded it was routine political speech.