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Donald Trump says Kevin McCarthy made a mistake by boycotting the January 6 investigation and says he should have appointed other Republicans to the select committee after his picks were snubbed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The former president told Punchbowl News on Tuesday afternoon that it would be good to at least ‘have a voice’ on the panel as it conducts very public and televised hearings.
‘Well, I think in retrospect, I think it would have been very smart to put’ Republicans on the committee ‘to just have a voice,’ Trump said.
‘I wasn’t involved in it from a standpoint so I never looked at it too closely,’ he added. ‘But I think it would have been good if we had representation.’
‘The Republicans don’t have a voice. They don’t even have anything to say,’ the former president lamented.
When the committee started to take its form shortly after the January 6 Capitol riot in the Democrat-led House, GOP Minority Leader McCarthy chose five members of his caucus to serve – Representatives Jim Banks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas.
Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan because she said their ‘statements and actions’ would compromise the ‘integrity of the investigation.’
Both pro-Trump lawmakers voted against certifying the election results in at least one state on January 6, 2021 – but so did Nehls and Pelosi did not reject him as a pick for the panel.
In response to Pelosi, McCarthy entirely boycotted the investigation and barred his party from engaging in the select committee.
Pelosi, however, found two anti-Trump Republicans willing to go against their party and join the panel in Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Donald Trump thinks there’s ‘no question’ Kevin McCarthy made a mistake by not appointing Republicans to the January 6 select committee – even after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snubbed two of his original picks
Pelosi picked anti-Trump Republican Representatives Liz Cheney (left) and Adam Kinzinger (right) to serve on the committee in the absence of any other GOP members willing to break with Leader McCarthy
In response, the Republican National Committee and Wyoming GOP censured Cheney, and she was booted from her No. 3 party post as chairwoman for the GOP Conference. She was replaced with Representative Elise Stefanik of New York.
Cheney is highly likely to lose reelection for her at-large seat to the Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman while Kinzinger is not running for another term.
‘I think it would’ve been far better to have Republicans [on the panel],’ Trump told Punchbowl, adding that Banks and Jordan were ‘great’ selections by McCarthy.
‘They were great and would’ve been great to have them,’ he said. ‘But when Pelosi wrongfully didn’t allow them, we should’ve picked other people. We have a lot of good people in the Republican Party.’
He added that there’s ‘not even a question’ McCarthy should have put Republicans on the select committee.
Trump does not consider Cheney and Kinzinger true Republicans – calling them and other anti-Trump GOP members ‘RINOs’, which means Republicans in Name Only.
McCarthy doesn’t think that Pelosi should have the ability to decide which members of his committee can sit on committees.
‘We’re never letting Nancy Pelosi select who’s on our committee,’ McCarthy said in an interview Tuesday.
‘The whole narrative shows it’s all partisan,’ he added. ‘This whole thing was about politics.’
Kevin McCarthy decided his party would boycott the investigation to make it seem like a one-sided, one-party witch hunt after Pelosi rejected his picks for the select committee. ‘We’re never letting Nancy Pelosi select who’s on our committee,’ McCarthy said Tuesday. ‘The whole narrative shows it’s all partisan. This whole thing was about politics’
Pelosi would not allow GOP Representatives Jim Jordan (left) and Jim Banks (right) onto the committee because she said their ‘statements and actions’ would compromise the ‘integrity of the investigation’
‘We said we’d participate in this,’ McCarthy said of the investigation into the events surrounding and on the day of January 6, 2021. ‘We put who we wanted up on it. But the only people who can be put on it are people that she’s approved. That’s never going to happen. It’s pure politics.’
The January 6 select committee is two weeks into its hearings, holding four so far.
McCarthy felt that by Republicans sitting out he could paint the proceedings as a one-sided ‘witch hunt’ – even with the presence of Cheney and Kinzinger.
Other Republicans are quietly starting to wonder if it would have been better if they had a seat at the table.
The committee is likely to hold at least four more hearings in coming weeks to conclude making the case that Donald Trump knew he lost the 2020 presidential election but still pushed the ‘Big Lie’, and that his actions – and lack of actions – ultimately led to the deadly Capitol riot.