BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A prominent Political Action Committee created by Republicans and former Republicans critical of President Trump has turned its sights on another national figure closely aligned with the president: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The Lincoln Project is alleging that the Bakersfield congressman’s office is in chaos and the Washington-based anti-Trump organization is urging staff members to quit.
A few Republicans in Washington, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were already starting to step away from President Trump even before the siege of the U.S. Capitol.
But the Lincoln Project — created by Republicans who consider Trump unfit for the office, former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway among them — has been making its feelings known since its formation in December 2019.
Now the Lincoln Project is making a damning statement about McCarthy, widely regarded as Trump’s biggest ally in Congress. And the anti-Trump organization is directing the statement, released Friday, at what some might consider a surprising audience: the congressman’s own staff.
The Lincoln Project video, just 30 seconds, says this:
“There’s chaos in Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office. His staff is threatening to revolt — quit en masse. Have you finally had it with working for a congressman who swears allegiance to Trump over country? No political ambition is worth working for this pathological liar and seditious traitor.
“For the rest of your career you can be remembered as taking a stand or standing with a pathetic enabler. Pack up your desk and leave that loser behind,” the video concludes.
Is — as the Lincoln Project alleges — McCarthy’s office really in chaos? Is his staff really threatening to quit en masse? Not according to a staff spokesperson contacted Friday by 17 News. The office issued this statement:
“This is completely false today, just as it was when they claimed it on Wednesday,” the statement read. “The congressman’s team couldn’t be prouder of the work he does for the community.”
But there’s plenty of evidence of ongoing chaos elsewhere in McCarthy’s world.
CNN and MSNBC have both repeated reports, citing a source familiar with the episode, that McCarthy and Trump got into a screaming match as the mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol.
According to the report, McCarthy demanded that Trump release a statement denouncing the mob. And, initially, Trump would not agree to do so.
If it’s hard to imagine McCarthy clashing with Trump, it may be because McCarthy has consistently supported Trump’s false claims about election fraud. Even after the right-wing riots finally ebbed late Wednesday, McCarthy’s loyalty persisted: He voted for further investigation into alleged irregularities already dismissed in more than 50 courts across the U.S.
Then, on Friday, urging Democrats not to impeach Trump next week, as they are threatening, he called for national unity.
Almost lost amid the calls for Trump to resign or face impeachment in the wake of the violence are devastating criticisms of McCarthy himself.
The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board put much of the blame for Wednesday’s riots on McCarthy, calling him “a soulless anti-democracy conspirator.”
Washington Post columnist Max Boot, an avowed conservative, called for the resignations of McCarthy and McConnell.
And in a Friday morning tweet, McCarthy’s November opponent, Democrat Kim Mangone of Quartz Hill, asked people to retweet if they thought McCarthy should be ashamed of his vote to delay Joe Biden’s normally perfunctory Electoral College ratification. She got 440 retweets in five minutes.
Has all of this caused dissention within the ranks of McCarthy’s D.C. staff, as claimed? McCarthy’s office says no. Has it caused serious consternation? Logic says yes.
Efforts to contact Lincoln Project officials Friday were unsuccessful.