McCarthy’s Trump tape was an “empty burger”. Can the House GOP drop more audio?

“No one cares. … Nobody but the media and journalists,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota), chairman of the Congressional Republican National Committee.

“It distracts me that some New York Times reporters prefer to report on things that Americans don’t care about, instead of focusing on the causes of inflation, namely the reckless spending of these guys. These are problems. The tape is wrong.”

Since Trump himself also seems to revel in the power he exercised in the McCarthy taping episode, his impact on the California Republican’s future prospects as speaker is questionable so far. This includes a new Times entry released Tuesday night showing McCarthy saying Rep. Matt Goetz (R-Fla.) is “putting people in danger” and criticizing Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) in connection with the riots. At the same meeting, McCarthy and his leadership team also criticized the rhetoric of two other members surrounding the January 6 attack: Representatives Lauren Bobert (R-Colorado) and Barry Moore (R-Alabama).

Hours later, Getz issued a fiery statement criticizing the Republican leader and others.

“Rep. McCarthy and Rep. Scalise held views on President Trump and me that they shared during sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us,” Gaetz said. “This is the behavior of weak people, not leaders.”

Other members specifically mentioned in the story objected when asked Tuesday night about McCarthy’s recording, with some instead placing the blame on the media.

“RINOs crafting this story to advance their own selfish agenda will not show up next year to support the Democrats’ destructive Big Government scheme,” Moore said.

Bobert said, “I haven’t heard anything like that, my God.”

And, unlike McCarthy’s first entry, Steve Scalise (R-La.), Steve Scalise (R-La.) was also shown suggesting that what Gaetz had done might have been “illegal”.

“I didn’t see what they were referring to,” Scalise told reporters Tuesday night of the latest entry. “But it doesn’t surprise me that the liberal media wants to keep talking about January 6th. Because they don’t want to focus on all the crises created by President Biden, from inflation to gas prices to the border.”

As Republicans in the House of Representatives began to digest McCarthy’s new entry, even some of Trump’s allies who voted to block President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory confirmation were not intimidated by his dubious denial of the earlier entry.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is also close to McCarthy, simply said, “I’m all for Donald Trump being the next president and Kevin McCarthy the next speaker.”

However, not all Republicans are willing to let the tape drama fade away. It could be light ammunition for Republicans who want concessions from McCarthy, or for new conference members who want to make a name for themselves on a party basis ready to challenge leadership.

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who led the Trump-allied House Freedom Caucus until January, told the conservative One America News Network that McCarthy’s comments in the audio “undermined” colleagues who voted against the election.

Biggs added to OANN that McCarthy had not been “sincere” with other Republicans in the House of Representatives that Trump’s potential call for resignation was pending, and also cited the GOP leader’s recorded observations about removing some of Trump’s vocal aides from social media.

However, few Republicans were willing to criticize their leader when they returned to the Capitol on Tuesday night, their first face-to-face meeting since last Thursday’s explosive New York Times coverage.

Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, argued that the sound was “an empty burger” that was taken “completely out of context.”

“They talked about whether they had impeachment hearings and he was impeached,” Rogers said of Trump. McCarthy, he added, was merely suggesting that Trump step aside before the Democrats successfully remove him from the White House.

In the early days of January 2021, during McCarthy’s taped call, some Republicans in the House of Representatives were betting that the Senate could vote to convict Trump.

“It’s all inside baseball. No voter has raised this issue with me,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) said of McCarthy’s tape as he walked out of a gathering of senior Republicans.

“No one talks about it,” Davis added. “And frankly, I can’t wait for Speaker McCarthy to be sworn in.”

The Times’ initial report on McCarthy’s post-uprising comments, followed a day later by the release of audio recordings from the GOP caucus, rocked the House Republican conference at a time when many of its members are eagerly awaiting the January 6 attack on the Capitol in hiding out of sight. McCarthy members would rather focus on their efforts to regain a majority in November.

On the tape, McCarthy can be heard telling then-GOP conference chairman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) that he was “seriously considering” talking to Trump directly about whether he should step down after the attack on the Capitol.

The California Republican also told his leadership team on the tape that Trump personally acknowledged at least some role in inciting the rioters that day (that POLITICO reported at the timereferring to several people familiar with the conversation).

Trump “told me that he had some responsibility for what happened and he needed to acknowledge that,” McCarthy said in a phone call.

McCarthy briefly turned to audio at a Tuesday night meeting with Republican leaders and senior members, four sources in the room told POLITICO. McCarthy told them that he did not raise the resignation issue to Trump and did not bring the subject up at the broader GOP conference, warning his members not to let the issue divide them.

Sources say that all participants in this meeting, which included his allies, supported the leader of the Republican Party and that no one at the meeting tried to challenge him.

Some close to Trump have suggested that the former president is not angry at the sound — instead, he sees it as a sign of his power, because Senate and GOP leaders appeared ready to attack him after the Capitol siege and have since softened their views. an approach.

Of course, this may change; others say Trump is notorious for using information that he can later use to use against someone who snubs him.

In Biggs’ interview with OANN, he specifically noted Cheney’s involvement in the discussion on how to respond to Trump, despite the fact that the call came when she was still expected to participate as a member of the GOP leadership. Serious attempts to oust her from the upper echelons of the conference were not made until a few weeks after the taped call.

“It’s incredibly undermining that we’re back in the middle of that” time after the Trump supporters’ riot, Biggs told the conservative publication. “And we have a leader who is basically negotiating with Liz Cheney on whether he should step down or not, [which] becomes a huge trust issue for me.”

McCarthy, in particular, did not quite see Biggs’ remarks as suggesting that the tape might affect his confidence in his leader.

“I don’t think he said that,” McCarthy said of Biggs in a brief interview Tuesday night.

Did you ask Jim Jordan? the minority leader added, stating that the issue was not brought up in GOP meetings that day.