House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., encouraged President Biden to call Democrats off holding an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump Thursday, whom he said could still lead the party going forward.
“I think impeachment is totally wrong,” he said on “America’s Newsroom.” “It was purely politically driven. What they were doing on impeachment with having no committee look at it, no information, and people just vote on this. And now President Trump is a private citizen. Why would you spend your time on this?”
Democratic leaders have signaled they willl proceed with the Senate trial for Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday the Senate trial would likely proceed “soon.”
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Trump was impeached for a second time last week on an article of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol, after a mob of avid supporters stormed the building on Jan. 6 to disrupt certification of Biden’s win. The melee lead to five deaths and rebukes from some senior members of Trump’s own party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Ten Republicans joined House Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, including conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. McCarthy voted against it and was part of the majority of the House Republican caucus that challenged Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
Democrats hold total control in Washington for the first time in a decade after Biden won and Democrats took narrow control of the U.S. Senate. McCarthy said the effort to convict Trump after he left office would be a divisive action from a party stressing unity.
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Asked about Cheney’s vote and divisions in the GOP caucus over Trump’s impeachment, he said he was optimistic the leadership team could unite and gain the majority in two years. Despite Trump’s defeat, House Republicans gained 13 seats in the 2020 election, and all incumbent GOP members were re-elected.
“We’re going to have a discussion inside. I know there’s differences of opinion. The best thing that we can do as one party is talk to one another, respectfully and understand that some people will have differences of opinion and air those out and move forward as one,” he said.
Asked who the leader of the Republicans was, McCarthy would not directly say Trump, although he did say he had the “ability to lead this party.”
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“The people are the leader of the Republican Party,” he said, later adding, “I think President Trump continues to have that ability to lead this party and unite. Yes, President Trump has the ability to lead this party.”