A new audio clip of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s explosive conversation with a Republican lawmaker has revealed that he considered urging Donald Trump to resign in the days after the violence on Capitol Hill, which it apparently contradicts his denial issued just hours earlier.
In the audio, which was published in The New York Times and airing on MSNBC Thursday night, McCarthy can be heard speaking with Rep. Liz Cheney about his plans.
“The only argument I would have with him is that I think [impeachment] it will pass, and it would be my recommendation that he resign,” McCarthy said on Jan. 10, 2021, in a phone call.
“That would be my opinion, but I don’t think he would accept it. But I don’t know,” she added.
The conversation was published hours after McCarthy issued a lengthy statement on Thursday, flatly denying the initial NYT report on the call.
“The New York TimesReporting about me is totally false and wrong,” he said.
“It’s no surprise that the corporate media is obsessed with doing everything they can to promote a liberal agenda. This book tour is no different. If reporters were interested in the truth, why would they ask for comments after the book was printed?
Thursday’s report was based on passages from an upcoming book. This Will Not Happen: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future for Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.
On the call, Cheney can be heard asking McCarthy about the possibility of Trump resigning.
“Are you hearing that I might quit? Is there any reason to think that could happen? Mrs. Cheney asks.
He replied that he “had some discussions” and that he planned to call Trump later that night, but that he doubted the former president would “ever leave.”
“This, this is what I think: We know the House will pass. I think there’s a chance it could pass the Senate, even after he’s gone,” McCarthy said, apparently referring to an impeachment resolution.
At one point, he also said: “What he did is unacceptable. No one can defend that and no one should defend it.”
These reports come months before the November midterm elections, in which Republicans hope to regain majority in the House and Senate.
The development could also complicate McCarthy’s plans to become House speaker if Republicans gain control during the November midterm elections.
The condemnation of Trump on the recording goes far beyond the speech McCarthy gave in the House of Representatives shortly after the insurrection. He said at the time that Trump “bears responsibility” for the “attack on Congress by mob rioters” and “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was happening.”
But the California Republican has since distanced himself from any criticism of Trump and has avoided directly linking him to the attack again.
Instead, he has tried to reach out to Trump, visiting him at the former president’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago.
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