According to audio published by The New York Times, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on a House Republican Leadership call that former President Donald Trump should resign following last January’s Capitol riots. The call reportedly happened on Jan. 10, 2021, just four days after the riots.
“It would be my recommendation that he should resign,” Rep. McCarthy can be heard saying on the call, referencing the former president. “That would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”
McCarthy’s comments in the call came in response to a question from Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves on the House committee investigating the riots. He also touched on the Democratic effort to remove Trump from office at the time, saying, “I think it will pass.”
The New York Times’ reporting began Thursday morning with a story describing the call. McCarthy responded with a statement on Twitter, calling the story “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 in the statement. “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.”
The audio was posted following McCarthy’s statement. His spokesperson Mark Bednar did not immediately respond to questions after the audio’s release.
With McCarthy potentially in line to take over as House Speaker in 2022, the audio of him saying Trump should resign could threaten to fracture Republican party leadership if Trump runs in 2024. However, McCarthy has staunchly defended Trump and his election fraud claims since the riots. This includes duking it out with current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over the formation of the Capitol riots committee.
The Washington Post reported Friday that McCarthy and Trump spoke on the phone following the audio’s release Thursday night. According to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation, Trump was not upset about the audio and was glad McCarthy didn’t follow through on pushing Trump to resign.