House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) insisted Thursday that Republicans were not trying to reverse former President Trump’s election defeat in challenging the results of November’s presidential contest in a testy exchange with CNN’s Manu Raju.
McCarthy argued that Republicans had formally challenged the results in only two states when Congress met on Jan. 6 to certify President Biden’s victory. Those two states — Arizona and Pennsylvania — together did not contain enough electoral weight to reverse the outcome, which requires 270 votes of the Electoral College, he noted.
Heading into the the Jan. 6 certification vote, House Republicans were hoping to challenge the outcome in six states won by Biden — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But after the mob attack on the Capitol that day, they found support from only two members of the Senate — an endorsement required to launch a formal challenge — leading to the votes on the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
More than 120 Republicans voted to reject the outcome in both states, including McCarthy.
McCarthy was among the first GOP leader to adopt Trump’s message — “President Trump won this election, so everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet,” he said on Fox News two days after the election. And he endorsed a Texas lawsuit challenging the outcome in four states won by Biden: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. That case went as high as the Supreme Court, which dismissed it.
On Thursday, he defended his endorsement of the lawsuit, rejecting the notion that Republicans had sought to disenfranchise millions of voters in those four states.
“No, no, no, no I don’t [regret it],” he said after a direct question by Raju. “You know why? That’s where you go, to the courts.”