McCarthy said he would urge Trump to resign
The audio depicts a very different McCarthy from the one who has led House Republicans for the past year and a half and remained allied with Trump even after delivering a speech in the House shortly after January 6, during of which he called the Attack on the Capitol “un-American”. At the time, McCarthy called the assault one of the saddest days of his career and told fellow Republicans that Trump “bears responsibility” for the violence.
Even after the violence, however, McCarthy joined half of House Republicans in voting to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory.
Since then, the California Republican has distanced himself from any criticism of Trump and avoided linking him directly to what happened. Weeks after the Capitol siege, McCarthy said he did not believe Trump instigated the attack, as other prominent Republicans at the time had said.
Instead, McCarthy has moved closer to Trump, visiting him at the former president’s Florida residence in Mar-a-Lago as he leans on the former president’s brand for support. campaign this fall.
McCarthy indicated during an interview with The Associated Press this week in California that Trump will motivate voters to run for the party in this fall’s midterm elections.
“He’s going to motivate, get a lot of people out,” McCarthy said at a GOP event in Fresno.
Thursday’s Times report was adapted from a forthcoming book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” by Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.
In the audio, Cheney, who ultimately lost his position as No. 3 leader after voting to impeach Trump, can be heard asking McCarthy about a 25th Amendment resolution calling for Trump’s ouster and whether Trump could resign.
“I’ve had a few talks. My gut tells me no. I’m seriously considering having that conversation with him tonight,” McCarthy was heard saying. “What I think I’m going to do is I’m going to call him.”
“I think it will pass and it would be my recommendation that he resign,” he added later. “I mean, that would be my point of view but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”
McCarthy, 57, has strategically charted his own tricky course as he positions himself to try to take over as president if Republicans retake the House. He has begun building his leadership team and last summer tasked several groups of Republican lawmakers with drafting proposals on the party’s key legislative priorities in hopes of getting off to a quick start in 2023.
But even as he closes in on the House leadership, McCarthy is well aware of the downsides of power in recent months as far-right conference members have created headaches with inflammatory actions and statements. .
There was little immediate reaction Thursday night from fellow Republicans that could determine his future.
To be sure, no other Republican leader in the House has amassed the position to challenge McCarthy for the leadership job.
McCarthy recruited the class of newcomers bolstering the ranks of the GOP and raised millions to support Republican campaigns. He has drawn his closest rivals into the fold even as he works to shore up the votes that would be needed to become president.
An outside group aligned with McCarthy conducted a fundraiser ahead of the midterm elections, and grassroots Republicans pushing to win back a majority in the House are unlikely to be critical of the leader until November.
Yet McCarthy was also a person of interest for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol storming. The select committee, which Cheney vice-chairman, requested an interview with McCarthy in mid-January, hoping to learn more about his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot.
They had also sought information about McCarthy’s communications with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the attack. Hours after the request was made, McCarthy released a statement saying he would refuse to cooperate because he considered the investigation not legitimate and accused the panel of “abuse of power”.
The committee focused particularly on McCarthy’s communications with Trump and White House staff in the week following the violence, including a conversation with Trump that was reportedly heated.
Without his cooperation, it remains unclear whether the panel will be able to obtain testimony from McCarthy or any other Trump ally in Congress. Although the committee has considered subpoenaing fellow lawmakers, it has so far avoided doing so because it would be an extraordinary move and could face legal and political challenges.