WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) denied Thursday that he considered asking former President Donald Trump to resign following the January 6 Capitol riot, but audio released Thursday evening appears to contradict that statement.
The New York Times first reported Thursday morning that McCarthy had contemplated calling on the president to resign, prompting McCarthy’s office to issue a flat denial of the story. But MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow aired an audio recording Thursday evening which cast doubt on the House minority leader’s claim.
“My gut tells me no,” McCarthy reportedly said during a private call with Republicans, responding to Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney’s question about whether Trump would resign, according to audio aired on MSNBC. “I am seriously thinking about having that conversation with him tonight. I haven’t talked to him in a couple days. From what I know of him, I mean you guys all know him, too, do you think he’d ever back away?
“We know it’ll pass the House, I think there’s a chance it’ll pass the senate even when he’s gone. And I think there’s a lot of different ramifications for that. … The only discussion I would have with him is I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation that he should resign,” he continued, referring to the impeachment resolution.
“That would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it,” McCarthy said. “But I don’t know.”
McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire. Before the audio was released, a McCarthy spokesperson told The New York Times: “McCarthy never said he’d call Trump to say he should resign.” McCarthy had also released his own statement calling the New York Times’ reporting “totally false and wrong.”
“It comes as no surprise that the corporate media is obsessed with doing everything it can to further a liberal agenda,” McCarthy said. “This promotional book tour is no different. If the reporters were interested in truth why would they ask for comment after the book was printed?”
My statement on the New York Times pic.twitter.com/PWi2WkoWzh
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 21, 2022
“The past year and a half have proven that our country was better off when President Trump was in the White House and rather than address the real issues facing Americans, the corporate media is more concerned with profiting from manufactured political intrigue from politically-motivated sources,” he continued. “Our country has suffered enough under failed one-party Democrat rule and on amount of media ignorance and bias will stop Americans from delivering a clear message this fall that it is time for change.”
The news prompted Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz to accuse Cheney of recording McCarthy “for the New York Times” on Friday morning, warning McCarthy, “You should have trusted my instincts, not your own.”
While I was rallying in Wyoming against Liz Cheney…
Kevin McCarthy was defending Liz Cheney among House Republicans…
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 22, 2022
“While I was rallying in Wyoming against Liz Cheney…Kevin McCarthy was defending Liz Cheney among House Republicans,” he tweeted. “While Liz Cheney was secretly recording Kevin McCarthy for the New York Times.”
Cheney, a Republican who has found herself estranged from the rest of the party over her strong opposition to Trump and her seat on the Democrat-run January 6 commission, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire, but a Cheney spokesman told CNN that the House committee investigating the Capitol Riot “has asked Kevin McCarthy to speak with us about these events but he has so far declined.”
“Representative Cheney did not record or leak the tape and does not know how the reporters got it,” the spokesman said.