McCarthy downplays remarks about Trump in secret recording

Apr 25, 2022, 3:45 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:33 pm
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talks to reporters during his weekly news conference in...
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talks to reporters during his weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on March 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. McCarthy blamed Democrats for national and state policies that he said hinder domestic energy production, which results in more opportunities for Russia to sell its oil and natural gas. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday downplayed secretly recorded remarks he made about Donald Trump shortly after last year’s attack on the Capitol. He also said he never told the then-president that he should resign — something news organizations have not reported.

McCarthy’s comments were his first public remarks since The New York Times reported last week that on a Jan. 10, 2021, phone call with fellow Republicans, he said he was “seriously thinking” about telling Trump “he should resign.” McCarthy initially called that report “totally false and wrong.” The newspaper later released a recording of him making those remarks and it was played on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show.

The Times and others have not reported that McCarthy ever followed through and called Trump to urge him to step down. Critics have said the recordings and his denial of what he said show McCarthy to be a liar.

Trump was impeached by the House, but exonerated by the Senate, for encouraging a mob of his supporters who violently stormed the Capitol trying to disrupt Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes in his November 2020 reelection defeat.

McCarthy, R-Calif., said Monday that a reporter — one of two Times reporters who have written a book that includes the recorded conversation — called him “the night before he released the book.”

“My understanding is he was saying, ‘Did I ask President Trump to resign?’ No, I never did, and that’s what I was answering,” McCarthy told reporters Monday in Eagle Pass, Texas, after touring the border with other Republicans.

Reports have not said that McCarthy definitively told Republicans that he would urge Trump to step down, only that he was thinking seriously about it.

McCarthy also said Monday that “I never did” tell GOP colleagues “that we’re going to ask” Trump to resign.

Before he took the question Monday about the audio, McCarthy and his GOP colleagues spent 30 minutes describing what they said are dangerous conditions at the border and blaming President Joe Biden for them.

“After all this, that’s what you want to ask?” he said when the reporter asked about the recording. He said people care more about border security and other issues.

McCarthy was asked directly in an interview earlier Monday with Fox News Channel whether he had lied when he said, before the audio’s release, that the Times’ reporting was false.

“No,” he said, saying he’d been asked if he’d called Trump and told him to resign.

He also told Fox he believes the episode won’t have “any impact at all” on his hopes of becoming speaker if, as seems likely, Republicans win House control in November’s elections.

So far McCarthy’s bid to become speaker seems on track. Trump, whose influence over the GOP is unrivaled, said after the audio’s release that he still likes McCarthy.

While most House Republicans have said little so far about whether they would back McCarthy for speaker, those who’ve spoken out have said they still support him.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

tetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with the trophy...
Associated Press

SEC halftime contest booed, both students awarded $100,000

Two college students have won $100,000 in tuition after a confusing finish in the SEC championship game's halftime competition. Boos rained down from the fans in attendance for the game between No. 1 Georgia and No. 11 LSU when one of the two students appeared to win the Dr Pepper ball toss competition in overtime on a technicality. The winner was due to get $100,000 and the runner-up $20,000. Baylor student Reagan Whitaker and St. Augustine student Kayla Gibson exchanged leads multiple times in regulation. In overtime, they tied again, but Whitaker was declared the winner. It was announced on the broadcast in the fourth quarter of the game that Dr Pepper would gift both Whitaker and Gibson with $100,000 in tuition.
13 hours ago
A police car in Tampa, Florida....
Associated Press

Tampa police chief on leave after golf cart traffic stop

The police chief of Tampa has been placed on leave after a video emerged of her flashing her badge from the passenger seat of a golf cart to get out of a traffic ticket. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor placed Chief Mary O'Connor on administrative leave Friday pending an investigation of the Nov. 12 traffic stop. The body camera video shows O'Connor identifying herself as the Tampa police chief and asking the Pinellas County sheriff's deputy not to ticket her and her husband, who she says was driving the golf cart without a tag. O'Connor later released a statement saying the incident reflected "poor judgement."
13 hours ago
Rapper Kanye West attends the 2006 Cipriani / Deutsche Bank Concert Series where he will perform at...
Rob McLean, CNN Business

Kanye West’s Twitter account has been suspended, Elon Musk says it violated rule against incitement to violence

Kanye West's Twitter account was suspended early Friday morning after Elon Musk said it violated the platform's rules on inciting violence.
13 hours ago
The Twitter emblem is displayed on a smart phone outside the Twitter offices in Dublin on November ...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Elon Musk speaks out on ‘Twitter Files’ release detailing platform’s inner workings

(CNN) — Twitter owner Elon Musk spoke out on Saturday evening about the so-called “Twitter Files,” a long tweet thread posted by journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been provided with details about behind-the-scenes discussions on Twitter’s content moderation decision-making, including the call to suppress a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden and his […]
13 hours ago
FILE: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon July 21,...
TARA COPP, Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making clear he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops.
2 days ago
(Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)...
Brian Fung, CNN

Released Twitter emails show how employees handled 2020 New York Post Hunter Biden story

Elon Musk teased Twitter users a few days ago with the promise of information on Twitter's content moderation policies, now known as the "Twitter Files."
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
McCarthy downplays remarks about Trump in secret recording