Jan 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump falsely blames Antifa for Capitol insurrection

President Trump walks to the Oval Office.
President Trump walks to the Oval Office. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump on Monday privately — and falsely — blamed "Antifa people" for storming the Capitol, even though clear video and documentary evidence exists showing the rioters were overwhelmingly Trump supporters.

Why it matters: Despite facing an impeachment vote for an assault he helped incite, the outgoing president is still sticking with his tried-and-true playbook of deflecting and reaching for conspiracies.

Behind the scenes: In a tense, 30-minute-plus phone call this morning with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Trump trotted out the Antifa line.

  • McCarthy would have none of it, telling the president: "It's not Antifa, it's MAGA. I know. I was there," according to a White House official and another source familiar with the call.
  • The White House official said the call was tense and aggressive at times, with Trump ranting about election fraud and an exasperated McCarthy cutting in to say, "Stop it. It's over. The election is over."

McCarthy, who is facing major blowback for his role in encouraging dissent over the election outcome, went further:

  • He told Trump he should call Joe Biden, meet with the president-elect and follow tradition and leave a welcome letter in the Resolute Desk for his successor.
  • The president told him he hadn't decided whether to do so for Biden.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: McCarthy: "Undisputedly" no evidence Antifa participated in deadly Capitol siege

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