Kevin McCarthy Won't Answer Questions About Meeting With Mother Of Slain Capitol Rioter

WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) won’t answer questions about his meeting last week with the mother of a woman killed storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

McCarthy met in his office Thursday with Micki Witthoeft, mother of slain Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to climb through a barricaded door inside the Capitol.

McCarthy refused to answer a question about the meeting last week other than to say Witthoeft had requested it. On Tuesday HuffPost asked the speaker if he could share anything about his conversation with Witthoeft, but he declined, saying, “Catch me later.” A spokesperson for McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), one of McCarthy’s closest allies among the far-right of the House Republican conference, said at a hearing earlier this year that Babbitt was “murdered” by police. McCarthy disagreed, saying he believed the officer “did his job” when he shot Babbitt. It’s not clear if he still feels that way.

Witthoeft also declined to speak with HuffPost about her meeting with McCarthy. She told another reporter last week that it was a good meeting and McCarthy was “delightful.”

The meeting with Witthoeft is one of many ways the House majority under McCarthy’s leadership has shown sympathy to rioters while recasting the day’s events as a legitimate protest against the 2020 election result.

McCarthy has handed over hours of surveillance video from that day to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and various House committees have launched investigations designed to counter the official narrative that former President Donald Trump riled his supporters and sent them to the Capitol to disrupt the congressional certification of his 2020 loss.

Formal investigations by the Justice Department and the Capitol Police cleared the officer who shot Babbitt of wrongdoing. “The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved Members [of Congress] and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away,” the Capitol Police said in an August 2021 statement.

Witthoeft has attended several House hearings so far this year and maintained a vigil at the D.C. Jail, where around 20 Capitol rioters are being held for crimes they allegedly committed on Jan. 6. Greene led a delegation to the jail last week, where she dubiously claimed the rioters get worse treatment than other inmates.