House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) walks through the U.S. Capitol during a vote in the U.S. House of Representives on a Democratic-backed resolution that would punish U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for her incendiary remarks supporting violence against Democrats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and former President Donald Trump got into an expletive-laden argument on a phone call as the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was still unfolding, three sources briefed on the matter told NBC News on Friday.
As throngs of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol during the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, which resulted in the death of five people, McCarthy phoned Trump to get him to control his supporters.
Sources described the call as “not cordial” and borderline incoherent, but it illustrates more than what was publicly available at the time about Trump’s real-time reaction to the mob. He is currently in the middle of his second impeachment trial on a charge of inciting the riot.
McCarthy placed the call to Trump, according to a source familiar with the matter. Another source told NBC News that McCarthy was shaken up during the call and was asking the president for help.
Trump told McCarthy on the call, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” according to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and another Republican member familiar with the conversation.
CNN was first to report Trump’s comments about the rioters being more “upset” about the election than McCarthy.
“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wa., said in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday night.
At one point during the phone call, McCarthy told Trump: “Who the f—k do you think you are talking to?” according to a Republican lawmaker briefed on the conversation.