McCarthy Forgave 1/6 Because Trump Was Getting Too Skinny


For a brief moment after the insurrection, Donald Trump’s name was mud. The Republican Party had shunned him and even briefly contemplated impeaching the former president in order to formally disqualify him from the presidency. They gave up only because they assumed, very wrongly, that Trump’s career was over anyway.

The most decisive moment in Trump’s political resurrection came at the end of January, when House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago. To that point, Trump’s party had insisted their former leader apologize for inciting the riot and accept the legitimacy of the election result. “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said earlier. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump: Accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest, and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”

But when Trump refused to take any of these steps, McCarthy decided to meet with him and patch things up anyway. And here we are.

Liz Cheney, at the time a member of Republican leadership in good standing before being purged over her opposition to Trump, recounts in her new memoir that McCarthy had an explanation at the time for his decision. He was worried about Trump’s appetite:

“Mar-a-Lago?” she asked Mr. McCarthy, according to the book. “What the hell?”

He tried to downplay the meeting, saying he had already been in Florida when Mr. Trump’s staff called. “They’re really worried,” Mr. McCarthy said by her account. “Trump’s not eating, so they asked me to come see him.”

“What?” she recalled replying. “You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump’s not eating?”

“Yeah, he’s really depressed,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Anyway, now the Republican Party is fully subordinate to an unrepentant authoritarian demagogue. But at least Trump is eating well again.

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