McCarthy defends former Pres. Trump, says he did not provoke capitol riot

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Former President Donald Trump may be gone from office, but his impeachment continues to loom over Congress. On Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended the ex-president as he blasted the new president.

“I don’t believe he provoked [the capitol riot] if you listen to what he said at the rally,” McCarthy said of Trump. The statement came just over a week after McCarthy took to the House floor saying “the president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when we saw what was unfolding.”

McCarthy’s office reached out to 17 News to make clear that the congressman does not believe that former President Trump provoked the mob. In his speech last week, McCarthy did make clear that the president bore responsibility for not denouncing the mob when the attack was unfolding, per the minority leader’s office.

Since he took office, President Biden has signed at least 17 executive orders into law. Among them: the U.S. rejoined the Paris Climate Accords, and ceased plans for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline designed to transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the United States. The Biden administration argued the project could cause harm to wildlife. McCarthy said stopping construction for the project will hurt the economy.

“The new administration was more interested in virtue signals for climate activists than union workers building the keystone pipeline,” said McCarthy.

The Biden administration also plans to create a pathway forward for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, including “dreamers” who make up nearly one million undocumented young people who were brought to the country as children.

McCarthy criticized the move.

“The new administration is more interested in helping illegal immigrants than helping our own citizens.”

17 news Democratic analyst Neel Sannappa disagreed with McCarthy’s assessment.

“What President Biden wants to do is to create a pathway to citizenship for those folks who are coming over here to do work,” Sannappa said. “What has has proposed so far is to make sure there is a legitimate pathway to citizenship for those folks. We need to stop using immigration as a political football, which Republicans and Democrats have done in the past.”

Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) was one of 17 freshman GOP members in Congress to send a letter to President Biden calling on unity.

In part, it read: “We hope that we can rise above the partisan fray to negotiate meaningful change for Americans across the nation and maintain the united states standing as the best country in the world.”

During a conversation with 17’s Eytan Wallace, Valadao touched on where he hopes to find common ground with the new administration.

“I’m guessing on oil, we’re probably not on the same page,” Valadao said. “But when it comes to agriculture…I think we can find some common ground there,” he continued, pointing out he has worked with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in the past.

“And as far as water for our farmers, I don’t believe the Biden administration will be as helpful — I know for a fact they won’t be as helpful as the trump administration was — but I hope there are avenues where we can work together.”

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