McCarthy: New audio reveals his post-Jan. 6 concerns

Paul Leblanc | CNN

New Audio Recording of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Retrieved and Released New York Times on Tuesday shows that he expressed concern about far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives inciting violence against other lawmakers after January 6, 2021.

In the audio, the California Republican repeatedly lamented the inflammatory comments made by some GOP lawmakers after the attack on the US Capitol, a stance entirely different from his attempts to downplay the role of the Republicans in the uprising.

On January 10, 2021, McCarthy urged Republican leaders by private phone to monitor public statements from lawmakers such as Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Matt Goetz of Florida and alert him to any potentially damaging messages.

“The country is too crazy,” McCarthy said, according to an audio recording obtained by two New York Times reporters for their forthcoming book It Won’t Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.

“I don’t want to look back and think that we did something or missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of this.”

McCarthy did not answer questions from reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday regarding the New York Times report. Asked if he was worried that it might hurt his chances of becoming Speaker if the Republicans won the House of Representatives in the midterms, he replied, “No.”

The Republican leader specifically took issue with a television interview Gaetz gave, attacking Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and other Republicans who were critical of former President Donald Trump. “He puts people in danger,” McCarthy said of Gaetz, according to the audio recording. And he doesn’t have to do it. We saw what the people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with a rope and everything.”

House Minority Representative Steve Scalise called Gaetz’s behavior “potentially illegal,” according to the Times. Scalise dodged questions about the New York Times report on Tuesday, criticizing the “liberal media” for reporting on the uprising.

“I didn’t see what they were talking about. But it’s no wonder the liberal media wants to keep talking about January 6 because they don’t want to focus on all the crises that President Biden has created, from inflation to gas prices to the border,” he told reporters.

Gaetz told CNN he didn’t see the Times article.

Brooks, in response to the report, told CNN in a statement that “Kevin McCarthy spoke before he knew the facts.”

According to the audio recording, McCarthy became more blunt when an inflammatory tweet from Republican Party Representative Barry Moore of Alabama about rioter Ashley Babbitt was read aloud during the conversation. “Can’t they take their Twitter accounts too?” McCarthy asked.

His comments mark the last instance of damning talk he had in the immediate aftermath of January 6th.

The California Republican is already under fire after conflicting statements he made about Trump were found in separate audio clips.

AT one audio clip, he is heard to have told GOP leaders in the days following the January 6 uprising that, among other things, he planned to advise Trump to step down. McCarthy has since defended his comments, saying that he considered possible scenarios for Trump’s fate after the uprising and did not defend any of them.

AT AnotherMcCarthy told Republican lawmakers on a private conference call that Trump admitted he had some responsibility for the attack.

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