In the reality-based world, Liz Cheney is being honored with the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award for her defense of democracy. She’ll share the award with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) and Shaye Moss, a Fulton County, Georgia, election worker who suffered an immense harassment campaign from the MAGA crowd simply for doing her job.
In Republican fever dream world, Cheney, along with her colleague Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, was censured in February by the RNC for their decision to serve on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. If the House Minority Leader had a problem with that, he had a funny way of showing it. Rather than offering any support, Kevin McCarthy shoveled dirt on their graves.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Friday that Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger’s congressional careers are effectively over, declining to support them after the Republican National Committee’s censure.
“I think those two individuals will have a hard time ever coming back to Congress,” McCarthy said on Fox News.
It’s true that Cheney and Kinzinger have no future in the GOP, but McCarthy is heavily favored to become the Speaker of the House in January 2023. It’s hard to figure how that can be since it’s reported by the New York Times that he thought Trump should be immediately removed from office after the January 6 insurrection, either through resignation, invocation of the 25th Amendment or the impeachment process.
In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, the two top Republicans in Congress, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, told associates they believed President Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot and vowed to drive him from politics.
Mr. McCarthy went so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately: “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of Republican leaders…
…On a phone call with several other top House Republicans on Jan. 8, Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 had been “atrocious and totally wrong.” He faulted the president for “inciting people” to attack the Capitol, saying that Mr. Trump’s remarks at a rally on the National Mall that day were “not right by any shape or any form.”
During that conversation, Mr. McCarthy inquired about the mechanism for invoking the 25th Amendment — the process whereby the vice president and members of the cabinet can remove a president from office — before concluding that was not a viable option…
…On Jan. 10, Mr. McCarthy spoke again with the leadership team and this time he had a plan in mind.
The Democrats were driving hard at an impeachment resolution, Mr. McCarthy said, and they would have the votes to pass it. Now he planned to call Mr. Trump and tell him it was time for him to go.
“What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” he told the group.
Much the same can be said for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is now favored to become the Senate leader next year. McConnell also favored removing Trump from office immediately, telling colleagues in the days after January 6 that, “The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us.” Then this February he told Fox News that he would “absolutely” support Trump for president in 2024 if he is the Republican nominee.
I understand that this turnabout is a reflection of a basic reality. The Republican base voter supports Trump, Trump’s lies, and Trump’s insurrection. If you want to be a leader in the Party of Lincoln, you cannot get on the wrong side of those issues. Yet, McConnell and McCarthy were clearly on the wrong side when it mattered most. So, why are they surviving? Why are they in position to become the leaders of Congress?
Most people are focused on their shameless cynicism in the pursuit of power, but I want to know how in the hell it is working?