Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated: Wed, 12 May 2021 21:03:54 GMT
Emerging from the White House after a meeting with President Joe Biden on infrastructure Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked about the likely ascension of New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to the third-ranking leadership post -- and her vote to object to the 2020 Electoral College results.
"Well, first of all, the conference will decide but I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election," McCarthy replied. "I think that is all over with sitting here with the President today."
In the words of Gob Bluth: OK, OK, OK.
So what McCarthy is saying here is that no one is questioning the legitimacy of the election? That Biden won and Donald Trump lost? No one?
Not the 139 House Republicans, including Stefanik, who objected to the Electoral College counts in Pennsylvania and Arizona on January 6 -- despite the fact that every state had verified its count and there was zero proof of any sort of fraud or tampering? Or the eight Republican senators who did the same?
Not Trump himself? The man who wrote this on his personal blog on Monday:
"The major Michigan Election Fraud case has just filed a bombshell pleading claiming votes were intentionally switched from President Trump to Joe Biden. The number of votes is MASSIVE and determinative. This will prove true in numerous other States. All Republicans must UNIFY and not let this happen. If a thief robs a jewelry store of all of its diamonds (the 2020 Presidential Election), the diamonds must be returned. The Fake News media refuses to cover the greatest Election Fraud in the history of our Country. They have lost all credibility, but ultimately, they will have no choice!"
Or this on May 9:
"So now even our Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, is a junky. This is emblematic of what is happening to our Country. The whole world is laughing at us as we go to hell on our Borders, our fake Presidential Election, and everywhere else!"
Or this on May 6:
"The 2020 Election, which didn't even have Legislative approvals from many States (which is required under the U.S. Constitution), and was also otherwise corrupt, was indeed The Big Lie. So when they try to sell the American people the term The Big Lie, which they do in unison and coordination, think of it instead as the greatest Fraud in the history of our Country!"
You get the idea. The simple fact is that the current edition of the Republican Party is a cult of personality built around Trump. And virtually the ONLY thing Trump has talked about for months now is how the election was stolen from him. And the only reason that Stefanik is going to be elected as the next Republican Conference Chair is because McCarthy led the charge to remove Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from that job because she voted to impeach Trump for his conduct before, during and after the US Capitol riot on January 6.
For McCarthy to say otherwise is, literally, laughable.
What's remarkable is that the most likely outcome of this neat bit of gaslighting by McCarthy is that he will likely earn a rebuke from Trump. Because Trump has attacked anyone and everyone who won't sign on to his Big Lie about the 2020 election. Which will, of course, prove how ridiculous McCarthy's claim that nobody is questioning the legitimacy of the election actually is.