Republican Kevin McCarthy Says Russia Investigation is 'Closest' U.S. Has Ever Come to a 'Coup,' Forgets About Civil War

Kevin McCarthy Holds Weekly Press Conference
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill December 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy referred to the FBI investigation into connections between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia as "the closest we have ever come to having a coup" in United States history.

The congressman made his remarks Wednesday evening in a conversation with host Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Network program Lou Dobbs Tonight. As McCarthy and Dobbs discussed Inspector General's report on the FBI probe into the 2016 election, McCarthy emphasized the fact that the report found no less than 17 "significant errors or omissions" in applications the FBI completed in attempting to secure Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. McCarthy also criticized the FBI for "spying" on the president and being, in his opinion, opposed to him.

McCarthy's press contact did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from Newsweek.

"This is the closest we have ever come to having a coup in this country, and we have to make sure this can never happen again," McCarthy concluded, referring to the FBI probe. "I don't care what side you're on, but what they have done by being a law enforcement agency inside America to use that for their own purpose, their own political gain, is wrong."

Social media users were quick to point out one major historical omission in McCarthy's argument.


On Twitter, users responded to clips of McCarthy's interview to point out that the congressman seemed to have forgotten about the Civil War. That four-year conflict began in 1861, after several states in the slave-holding South broke away from the rest of the United States, formed their own national government called the Confederate States of America, and launched an armed conflict by firing upon U.S. servicemen stationed in South Carolina. By the time the United States had recaptured the South, hundreds of thousands had died.

"[R]emember that time when half of the united states seceded from and then invaded america?" user @revrrlewis tweeted in response to the clip. Such "invasions" into the United States by the South did indeed happen during the Civil War, most notably when Confederate troops under General Robert E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania, a state that had remained loyal to the U.S. The campaign led to the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the bloodiest battle of the war.


"So... we're denying that the civil war ever happened at all now?" asked user @nazosan2. "That's a new one to me."


Some users looked beyond the Civil War, describing other events in American history that some could consider attempted coups, such as the four presidential assassinations the country has experienced.


"The Business Plot was closer," wrote user @1stRepublic14thStar. "And the Civil War. The four assassinated presidents. The Nullification Crisis. The hyper partisan impeachment of Bill Clinton. And Republican theft of the presidency in 1876, 2000 and 2016 can actually be compared to coups."