House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) slammed Democrats over the weekend for using the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as a “partisan political weapon” just days before the anniversary of the violent attack.
In a Sunday letter to members of his conference, McCarthy described 2022 as “a big year” and “maybe the most important of our time in Congress.”
“We all enter 2022 with renewed optimism, but against the same backdrop of challenges that faced our country this past year,” McCarthy wrote. “No matter how you slice it, the first year of the Biden administration with Democrat control of Washington has set our nation back.”
The Republican leader highlighted inflation, the rise in crime, the southern border crisis and the recent surge of COVID-19 which has led to thousands of flight cancellations and hours-long testing lines.
“Even now, we are seeing the President’s central promise — ‘to shut down the virus’ — be so mismanaged that Americans are starting the year with as much uncertainty and unease as at the start of the pandemic,” McCarthy claimed.
Later in the letter, the Republican leader pivoted to the Jan. 6 anniversary, writing that the actions by Trump supporters that day were “lawless and as wrong as wrong can be.”
“Our Capitol should never be compromised and those who broke the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full accountability,” McCarthy added. “Unfortunately, one year later, the majority party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again. Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country.”
The Californian went on to accuse Democrats of being “negligent” by not taking what he called “meaningful and measurable steps … to protect our Capitol from all threats.” He did not elaborate in the letter on what those steps were, but said they would be outlined in a memo from House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).
The House is scheduled to reconvene on Jan. 10, while the Senate returned Monday, though the upper chamber’s first scheduled vote was postponed to Tuesday due to the winter storm affecting the nation’s capital.
Washington will host several events on Thursday marking the anniversary of the riot, including remarks by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a separate program to be held at the Capitol, including a discussion by historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, lawmaker testimonials about their experiences of that day, and an evening prayer vigil due to take place at 5:30 p.m.
The vigil is scheduled to start only half an hour after a news conference at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump is set to begin. The presser is expected to include discussion by Trump of the events of Jan. 6, his claims of election fraud, and the House select committee investigation of the violence.