GOP leader McCarthy calls for unity during Trump impeachment debate

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, made an impassioned plea for the nation to come together in his testimony at President Trump’s impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

The California GOP congressman disavowed “mob law,” while acknowledging Joe Biden as president-elect and calling on lawmakers to “resist the temptation of further polarization.”

“I believe that impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake. No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held. What’s more, the Senate has confirmed that no trial will begin until President-elect Biden is sworn in,” McCarthy said.

“But here is what a vote to impeach would do: A vote to impeach would further divide this nation. A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan divisions.”

The Californian Republican, a key ally of Trump’s on Capitol Hill, acknowledged that Amercians wanted “durable, bipartisan justice” and, in a rare break with the commander in chief, acknowledged that the president was not “free from fault.”

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” McCarthy said.

“These facts require immediate action by President Trump: accept his share of responsibility, quell brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term,” he continued.

The impeachment measure is backed by the entire Democratic majority — as well as by some six Republicans — all but assuring the charge will pass the House before being sent to the Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will wait until after Trump has left office to begin a trial.

In his speech, McCarthy called the violent siege of the Capitol “the worst day I’ve ever seen in Congress,” but urged his party not to give into partisanship and extended a rare olive branch across the aisle.

“After all the violence and chaos of last week, it is important to remember that we are all still here to deliver a better future for all Americans,” he said. “It does not matter if you are liberal, moderate or conservative. All of us must resist the temptation of further polarization. Instead, we must unite once again as Americans.”

The top-ranking Republican also made a clear acknowledgement of Biden’s victory, countering GOP Rep. Jim Jordan who this week repeatedly refused to say publicly that the former veep won.

“Let’s be clear: Joe Biden will be sworn in as the President of the United States in one week because he won the election,” McCarthy said.

The lawmaker also rejected claims that left-wing extremist group Antifa were responsible for the riot, not just Trump’s supporters.

“Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that and conservatives should be the first to say so,” he said, vowing that those responsible would be brought to justice.

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