GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Caught on Tape; Says He Would Convince Trump That He 'Should Resign'

An exclusive by The New York Times‘ political correspondents Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin reveals never before heard audio of a conversation between House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Wyo. Rep. Liz Cheney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other Republican leaders in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, Capitol unrest.


While McCarthy initially condemned the attack on the Capitol, he has remained a staunch loyalist to former President Donald J. Trump both in front of the news cameras and in the published press. However, these conversations paint a picture of a leader frustrated with how to best handle the aftermath of January 6 and how to hold Trump accountable for the Capitol attack.

These conversations were excerpted from Burns’ and Martin’s latest book, This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.

From The New York Times report:

In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, the two top Republicans in Congress, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, told associates they believed President Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot and vowed to drive him from politics.

Mr. McCarthy went so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately: “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of Republican leaders, according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times.

In one January 10, 2021 phone conversation with Cheney, McCarthy discussed the Democrats’ push for a second impeachment, and potential odds on whether the President would resign. Cheney asked if McCarthy believed the president would take an offer to resign in order to avoid impeachment. McCarthy expressed doubt at this proposition, but said that he would call President Trump and say, “it would be my recommendation you should resign.”


The New York Times embedded the audio recording of that phone conversation in the article.

This new audio belies McCarthy’s public face on January 6, where he strongly recommended an investigation into the Capitol attacks, then did an about-face after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the addition of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Ind. Rep. Jim Banks to the J-6 Commission. McCarthy has been openly critical of the commission, even refusing to testify before the panel.

Many Republicans and Trump supporters have had their doubts about Leader Kevin McCarthy’s allegiance to Trump and his America First agenda. While the tortured relationship between Mitch McConnell and Trump has played out loud and clear, McCarthy has walked a fine line between staying in the good graces of the former president, and working with McConnell toward unifying the Republican message and its goals for the Congress.


McCarthy has his sights set on being Speaker of the House should the Republicans retake the House in the 2022 midterms. In light of this new audio showing McCarthy’s feelings at that time towards the former president, and McCarthy’s dissembling stance on the issues surrounding January 6, this could well be a roadblock in his path.


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