The fallout continued Friday for Rep. Kevin McCarthy when his former boss and mentor, retired Congressman Bill Thomas, called him out for supporting “the phony lies the president perpetuated” and labeled McCarthy a "hypocrite" for putting political aspirations for party leadership before doing what’s right for the country.
During an extended interview with journalist Robert Price on KGET-17, Thomas pointed out that even after the Capitol came under attack on Jan. 6, McCarthy, along with 137 other House Republicans, continued to object to the Electoral College results as a show of support for President Donald Trump.
"It was as though they went to an extended lunch and came back and resumed their mission: reinforce, by your votes, the lies of the president," said Thomas, a former political science professor at Bakersfield College. Thomas served 28 years in Congress, after which McCarthy, his former aide, won election to his seat.
Thomas said it was only after major corporate donors, in an unprecedented move, began to announce they would no longer donate to the congressional Republicans who voted against certifying the Electoral College results that McCarthy changed his tune. In a speech from the floor of the House on Wednesday, before the vote on impeachment, McCarthy acknowledged that Joe Biden was the president-elect and called for unity.
"Had he said that when they came back after the mob there would have been a desire to have some unity," Thomas said. “Instead, he built his new credentials as best he could" for continuing in his leadership role.
Thomas likened the vote on impeachment to a scorecard for “hypocrites and heroes,” noting that McCarthy, who represents the 23rd District, voted against impeachment while Rep. David Valadao, who represents the 21st District, part of which is in Kern County, voted for it.
“I look at it in terms of what you did, how you did it and when you did it. What is more important? Ending any kind of continuation of massive lies after the Capitol was torn apart — which (McCarthy) didn’t do,” Thomas said. “And then finally after months of supporting those outrageous lies of the president, he decides that actually Trump lost and Biden won.”
McCarthy, embattled by a massive divide after the siege at the Capitol and an impeachment vote in which 10 House Republicans crossed the aisle and voted in favor of it, defended his stance on objecting to the Electoral College results during an interview with local radio host Ralph Bailey earlier this week.
McCarthy told Bailey the certification of the Electoral College vote was the appropriate time to raise concerns he and others had about alleged election irregularities.
Thomas said near the end of the interview, which aired in place of the 6 p.m. news broadcast, that he hopes going forward "the Kevin who spoke during the impeachment, notwithstanding the fact that he didn’t vote for it, will be the Kevin leading the Republicans on the floor of the House and not the 'my Kevin' as he had been, supporting, nurturing the lies of the president about what happened."
Thomas ended by saying: “There was no fraud. The election was the cleanest election in history. Trump lost. Biden won. Let’s get to work.”