Matt Gaetz slams Kevin McCarthy after tape leaks of McCarthy saying he would push Trump to resign in January 2021
Matt Gaetzcriticized Kevin McCarthyafter a tape leaked of McCarthy saying he would push Trump to resign as president.
- McCarthy made those comments on January 10, 2021, days after the Capitol riot.
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz on Friday slammed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after an audiotape leaked of Trump-critic Rep. Liz Cheney and McCarthy discussing how to get President
"While I was rallying in Wyoming against Liz Cheney … Kevin McCarthy was defending Liz Cheney among House Republicans," Gaetz wrote on Twitter. "@GOPLeader - you should have trusted my instincts, not your own."
Gaetz's and other loyal MAGA lawmakers' reactions will be closely watched in the wake of the tape's release. In an audio recording first played on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show on Thursday night, McCarthy can be heard talking to Cheney about what to do about Trump in the wake of the insurrection.
"I'm seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight. I haven't talked to him in a couple days," McCarthy tells Cheney, then-the No.3 House Republican, and other top party leaders during a call on January 10, 2021, referring to Trump. "But what I think I'm going to do, is I'm going to call him. This, this is what I think, we know that it'll pass the House. I think there's a chance it'll pass the Senate, even when he's gone."
McCarthy was talking about pushing for Trump to resign in the face of a possible swift and bipartisan impeachment effort to remove him from office.
His comments are all the more notable because McCarthy has publicly denied that he ever considered pushing for Trump to resign. He issued a blanket denial of his reported comments from the forthcoming book by two New York Times reporters, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for American Democracy."
If Republicans were to retake the House in November, McCarthy would be in line to become Speaker of the House. But depending on how many seats Republicans flip, he could have very little room to lose support from far-right lawmakers like Gaetz.
Gaetz also accused Cheney of recording and leaking the audio from the call. Cheney has denied the claim. McCarthy defended Cheney from Trump and fellow GOP critics for months before bowing to an effort by Republicans to force her from her leadership post. He now opposes her reelection.
"The select committee has asked Kevin McCarthy to speak with us about these events but he has so far declined. Representative Cheney did not record or leak the tape and does not know how the reporters got it," Cheney's office said in a statement to CNN.
A representative for McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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