O’Toole worked with McCarthy until March 2021 before assuming the role of strategic initiatives director for Cheney. He has worked for Cheney as her deputy policy director since May. Speaking on how the insurrection affected him, O’Toole was quick to note that, even though McCarthy initially condemned the Trump-inspired riot, the House Minority Leader still showed his loyalty to the former president. “I can’t speak to why McCarthy has changed his position,” O’Toole said, noting that McCarthy initially blamed Trump for inciting the insurrectionists.
Speaking on the House Floor in the wake of the violence, McCarthy said that “the president bears responsibility.” “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump,” he said. Within months, however, McCarthy no longer was interested in denouncing Trump and began siding with Trump supporters—and Trump himself. O’Toole told CNN that he had no idea what led to McCarthy’s about-face but that it certainly prompted the former staffer to act.
“Something’s changed in his values. I can’t speak to what that might be in terms of what his calculus is,” O’Toole said. “Look, for me after January 6th, my conscience and my values were clear: We need to be loyal to the Constitution. And I made a choice to leave and go work for somebody who did believe in that. After January 6th, Kevin McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago and I think that says things pretty clearly for the American people.”