‘A photo op with the treacherous instigator’: McCarthy under fire for cosy Trump meeting

‘I see, begging the loser insurrectionist to help them not lose again in 2022 is the strategy the GOP is going with,’ says Ilhan Omar

James Crump
Friday 29 January 2021 17:40
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David Hog calls on Kevin McCarthy to take away assignments of Marjorie Taylor Greene and not to support her re-election

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House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has been widely criticised for meeting former President Donald Trump in Florida.

The most senior Republican congressman met Mr Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Thursday, as the latter agreed to help GOP candidates campaign in the 2022 midterm elections.

Following the meeting, the minority leader released a statement, writing: “A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms our country was founded on.”

Mr McCarthy’s visit came just two weeks after Mr Trump was impeached by the House for a second time, for inciting the Capitol riots on 6 January. Five people died and several more were injured in the riots.

Mr McCarthy previously claimed that Mr Trump was partly responsible for the events of that day, but said in his statement on Thursday that they are “united and ready to win in '22.”

Multiple Democratic representatives were quick to criticise Mr McCarthy on Thursday, with Massachusetts House member Katherine Clark writing: “Less than one month ago, America was attacked by a violent, seditious mob.

“We've lost three police officers. Dozens more are injured. Still, we face active threats of violence. Kevin McCarthy's response is a photo op with the treasonous instigator.”

Minnesota Democratic representative Ilhan Omar, who has been the subject of numerous false claims from Mr Trump, shared the photo of the former president and Mr McCarthy on Twitter, and wrote: “I see, begging the loser insurrectionist to help them not lose again in 2022 is the strategy the GOP is going with.”

While New Jersey representative Bill Pascrell Jr wrote: “In case you had any question of the GOP changing course, the leader of the Republican party is at Mar-a-Lago today polishing Trump's shoes and lavishing him with North Korea style praise.”

In a follow up tweet, Mr Pascrell Jr posted the photo next to an image of North Korea supreme leader Kim Jong-un, captioning it: “Same energy”.

Mr McCarthy was also criticised by those close to him on Thursday, as one source told CNN that the House minority leader was “crawling back to Trump,” while another said the meeting made him look weak.

The Washington Post editorial board echoed the comments of the sources close to Mr McCarthy, criticising him and other Republicans who have gone “crawling back” to Mr Trump after condemning the former president for inciting the riots on 6 January.

“For a moment, it seemed as if the Republican Party might exorcise” Mr Trump for his role in inciting the riots, the editorial board wrote on Friday, but suggested: “The era of glasnost seems to be ending.”

The board claimed that the Republican party “had a chance, after Jan 6, to reject their narrowing future as a party of lies and voter suppression and try, once again, to widen their appeal by standing for something positive. What a shame to throw it all away.”

Despite agreeing to help the GOP in 2022, Mr Trump will face a Senate impeachment trial in the next few months and may be banned from running for president again.

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