Objectively speaking, Kevin McCarthy is an idiot who’s in way over his head as House Minority Leader. But even an idiot could figure out that there was only one play to make when it came to the January 6th Committee: appoint five no-name House Republicans with no specific history of controversial behavior. That way Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t have been able to find any grounds for rejecting them, and McCarthy would have had five of his own mouthpieces to do his bidding on the committee.
The thing that trips up an idiot like Kevin McCarthy is when a manipulator comes along and presents him with a “smart” idea that’s actually only going to benefit the manipulator. It’s been widely reported that McCarthy met with Donald Trump just before announcing his five picks for the committee, so it’s easy to conclude that it was Trump’s idea to add notorious troublemaker Jim Jordan and deranged conspiracy theorist Jim Banks – both insurrectionists – to the committee.
Naturally, Pelosi rejected those two clowns. Somehow McCarthy didn’t see that coming, and so when it happened, he made the panic move of revoking all five of his picks, giving him no voice on the committee. Worse for McCarthy, this left Pelosi in a position to make McCarthy’s picks for him – and she’s chosen House Republican Adam Kinzinger, an honest broker that McCarthy clearly did not want on the committee.
Trump is getting what he wanted out of this, we suppose. He wanted to be able to tell himself that the January 6th Committee’s findings are all false, because none of his picks are on the committee. But that’s merely a battle being fought in Trump’s head, and it certainly does Kevin McCarthy no good. He could have had five of his own loyalists on the committee; all he had to do was pick five people that no one had heard of. Instead McCarthy will be stuck trying to argue that a committee which includes multiple House Republicans is somehow a partisan farce – not an argument that voters in the middle will buy at all.
Once again, Donald Trump has screwed over Kevin McCarthy. It’s understandable why McCarthy keeps going back to Trump for advice; it was Trump who made the hapless McCarthy into House Minority Leader to begin with. But Trump doesn’t care about McCarthy’s fate at this point. All he cares about is convincing himself that he secretly won the election, and that January 6th was an Antifa plot to make him look bad. Meanwhile, McCarthy will spend this summer drowning under the weight of the bad advice Trump gave him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report