The Perfect Enemy | Kevin McCarthy divides GOP over Jan. 6 footage - NBC News
February 18, 2024

Kevin McCarthy divides GOP over Jan. 6 footage – NBC News

Kevin McCarthy divides GOP over Jan. 6 footage  NBC News

WASHINGTON — If it’s Wednesday … The Senate is set to block D.C. crime reform, per NBC’s Capitol Hill team. … The House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a hearing on botched Afghanistan withdrawal. … Florida Republicans propose six-week abortion ban. … What Gov. Ron DeSantis said after his State of the State address. … And “I hate him passionately”: Court documents show Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said he was fed up with Trump after 2020 election.

But first: After Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave Fox News’ Tucker Carlson 44,000 hours of security footage of the Jan. 6 attack, Carlson used it to portray that day — falsely — as a mostly peaceful gathering.

And many Republican members who were present weren’t happy about that portrayal.

“I think it’s bullshit,” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told reporters, per NBC’s Scott Wong, Liz Brown-Kaiser, Sahil Kapur and Frank Thorp.

“I was here. I was down there, and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people who got caught up in things,” Tillis added. “But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that … if you were just a tourist you should’ve probably lined up at the visitors’ center and came in on an orderly basis.”

March 7, 202304:05

Here was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief and the Capitol Police about what happened on Jan. 6,” he said. “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., chimed in: “I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the orders of police is a crime.”

And here was Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, per Politico: “I don’t really have a problem with making it all public. But if your message is then to try and convince people that nothing bad happened, then it’s just gonna make us look silly.” 

While this GOP anger is directed at Carlson and Fox News, McCarthy also shares the blame.

By giving this footage to Carlson — and to no other news organization so far — the speaker contributed to Fox News storyline by making it possible.

“I said at the very beginning, transparency,” McCarthy told reporters when saying he didn’t regret giving the footage to Carlson. “And so, what I wanted to produce for everybody is exactly what I said, that people can actually look at and see what’s gone on that day.” 

His GOP colleagues, including Mitch McConnell, disagreed with how the Jan. 6 footage was used to portray that day — to tell the American public: Do not believe your lying eyes. 

Quote of the day: “There was violence on Jan. 6”

I was there on Jan. 6. I saw what happened. I saw the aftermath. There was violence on Jan. 6.

— Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 23

That’s how many states have elected a Black woman to Congress, a list that now includes Virginia after Democratic Rep. Jennifer McClellan was sworn into office on Tuesday, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics. 

“It still blows my mind that we’re having firsts in 2023,” McClellan told NBC News last month after winning the special election in Virginia’s 4th District. “My ancestors fought really hard to have a seat at that table, and now not only will I have a seat at the table in Congress; I’ll be able to bring that policymaking table into communities that never really had a voice before.”

McClellan’s election means 28 Black women are currently serving in the House, surpassing the record number of 27 that was set at the start of this Congress, per CAWP data. There are currently no Black women serving in the Senate.

Other numbers to know:

40%: The portion of Americans who say that the level of immigrants and asylum-seekers the U.S. accepts should be lower, according to a new AP-NORC poll.

15%: The portion of Americans who view China favorably, a record low, according to a new Gallup poll.

2: The number of Americans who were shot and killed after they were kidnapped in Mexico on Friday.

$4.9 million: The amount that was spent by supporters for a recreational marijuana-legalization attempt in Oklahoma, which voters rejected Tuesday.

300 years: The amount of time before global gender equality is reached, if progress keeps marching at the current pace, the U.N.’s Secretary-General said in a speech on Monday ahead of International Women’s Day. 

Over a dozen: The number of Memphis fire and police personnel who were charged following the brutal death of Tyre Nichols in January.

Eyes on 2024: Abortion, Djokovic and DEI: What else DeSantis did Tuesday

The eyes of the political world were glued to Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State speech Tuesday. But it’s everything else he did Tuesday that may have been more revealing. 

During a press conference shortly after his speech, DeSantis spoke favorably about a new bill filed Tuesday that would restrict access to abortions after six weeks. (“Those exceptions are sensible,” he said. 

He also took on critics of his policies on education, promising an “exposé” countering the criticism he’s received on “book bans” and for the state’s decision to block an AP African American Studies course. 

And later that day, he wrote a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to let Novak Djokovic, the tennis star who is vocal about his decision to not be vaccinated against Covid-19, enter the country and play

In other campaign news:

Speaking of DeSantis: McClatchy delves into a period of DeSantis’ career that he rarely speaks about publicly: his time as a JAG officer at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility

Bayou buzz: GOP Rep. Garret Graves announced Tuesday that he has decided not to run for governor in Louisiana. And the Louisiana Illuminator reports that Stephen Waguespack, former GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief of staff who now runs the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, is expected to jump into the governor’s race later this week.

All that jazz: Chicago’s two mayoral candidates will be working to win over the 46% of voters who chose someone else in last month’s primary, and Politico unpacks how each candidate could win

On the airwaves: Money continues to pour into the Wisconsin state Supreme Court race, with a GOP outside group spending more than $3 million on the airwaves ahead of next month’s election.

Youngkin for president?: The Hill reports on how Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s recent national media swing continues to stoke speculation about him running for president. 

Hogan, too? Former Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who just announced he wouldn’t run for president as a Republican, would not rule out an independent presidential bid in the future in an ABC News interview. 

I’ll Have Another (debate): Four Kentucky Republican gubernatorial hopefuls participated in their first debate on Tuesday, while Politico reports on how Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is heading into his re-election fight in a red-leaning state as the frontrunner. 

Targeting House Democrats: Axios scoops that the NRCC is out with a small digital ad buy attacking House Democrats that voted against the resolution that would block Washington D.C.’s new crime law (which the Senate will vote on Wednesday). 

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has agreed to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Chair Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. confirmed on Tuesday.

Gigi Sohn has withdrawn her candidacy to join the Federal Communication Commission after she faced a wave of unprecedented attacks.

Sen Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is out of the hospital and recovering from shingles at home, the Washington Post reports.

A federal judge ruled that Missouri’s gun law that tried to nullify federal gun legislation is unconstitutional.