For Kevin McCarthy, the race to move beyond Jan. 6 is personal.
The House Republican leader not only has his eyes set on the Speakership after next year’s midterms, he was also the only lawmaker to speak directly to President Trump in the midst of the violent attack on the Capitol.
Those seemingly unrelated facts are in fact related in the context of the debate over the Jan. 6 commission. The dynamics make McCarthy unique among Republicans — and leave him with an equally unique dilemma.
To achieve the Speaker’s gavel, he’ll likely need the blessing of Trump and his loyalists in Congress. But revealing details of the Jan. 6 phone call could put McCarthy in the doghouse with the former president, whose outsize popularity with Republican voters has kept him a kingmaker, even from self-exile at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
McCarthy insists that he’d testify about the events of Jan. 6 if called to do so by an independent investigative commission. “Sure,” he succinctly told reporters Thursday. But he’s also opposing the creation of such a commission, which makes moot any claims to cooperation.
“I just think a Pelosi commission is a lot of politics,” said McCarthy, explaining his opposition to the commission.